Skip to main content

Full text of "Martin Buber; the life of dialogue"

See other formats


Digitized by the Internet Archive 

in 2011 with funding from 

LYRASIS IVIembers and Sloan Foundation 


The Life of Dialogue 

ba^RpeR f roRcbBooks 

A reference-list of Harper Torchhooks, classified 
by subjects, is printed at the end of this volume. 


The Life of Dialogue 


HARPER TORCHBOOKS ^ The Cloister Library 



This book is sold subject to the condition that it shall not, by way of 
trade, be lent, re-sold, hired out, or otherwise disposed of without the 
publisher's consent, in any form of binding or cover other than that 
in which it is published. 

MARTIN buber: The Life of Dialogue 

Copyright © 1955, 1960 by Maurice S. Friedman 
Printed in the United States of America 

All rights in this book are reserved. 
No part of the book may be used or reproduced in 
any manner whatsoever without written permission 
except in the case of brief quotations embodied in 
critical articles and reviews. For information address: 
Harper & Row, Publishers, Incorporated 
49 East 33rd Street, New York 16, N.Y. 

Reprinted by arrangement with The University of Chicago Press, 
which published the original edition in 1955. 

First HARPER TORCHBOOK edition published 1960 
Library of Congress catalog card number: 60-6070 


THIS book is the product of a dialogue, a dialogue first with the 
works of Martin Buber and later with Martin Buber himself. 
The influence of Buber's thought has steadily spread throughout 
the last fifty years until today Buber is recognized throughout the 
world as occupying a position in the foremost ranks of contemporary 
philosophers, theologians, -and scholars. What has made such men as 
Hermann Hesse and Reinhold Niebuhr speak of Martin Buber as one 
of the few wise men living on the earth today, however, is not only his 
eminence as a thinker but also his concern with the 'lived concrete,' 
the everyday reality which he takes up into his imagining and bears 
as his responsibility. Buber's eightieth birthday, on February 8, 1958, 
was celebrated all over the world, for Martin Buber is one of the truly 
universal men of our time. 'More than any other person in the modern 
world,' said the Protestant theologian H. Richard Niebuhr at one such 
celebration, 'more even than Kierkegaard, Martin Buber has been for 
me, and for many of my companions, the prophet of the soul and the 
witness to that truth which is required of the soul not as solitary, but 
as companionable being.' In a time in which we are in danger of losing 
our birthright as human beings, Martin Buber has shown us what it 
means to live as men. 

When in 1944 Dr. Simon Greenberg gave me the first book of 
Buber's that I ever read — The Legend of the Baal-Shem — Buber him- 
self was practically unknown in America and only two of his books 
were in English, both published in England. Even when I wrote my 
doctoral dissertation on Buber in 1950, few had heard of him and few 
of his books were published here. Today more than twenty of Buber's 
books have been published in English, most of them in both England 
and America, several more translations are underway, five of his 
books have been reissued in paperback editions, four anthologies of 
his writings have appeared, and several books in English have been 
written on his thought, including the forthcoming Philosophy of 
Martin Buber volume of The Library of Living Philosophers, which 
I have had the honor of editing. In 1951-1952 Buber spent almost a 
year in America under the auspices of the Jewish Theological Semi- 
nary; in 1957 he was brought here by the Washington School of 
Psychiatry to deliver the fourth William Alanson White Memorial 
Lectures; and in 1958 he was brought to this country by Princeton 
University. Martin Buber is now enjoying a vogue in America, says 

Preface to the Torchbook Edition 
William Barrett in The Irrational Man. If so, it is a 'vogue' that seems 
to be becoming firmly established! 

At the time of this book's first edition (The University of Chicago 
Press, 1955) it represented the first comprehensive study of Ruber's 
thought in any language, and it is still the only comprehensive study 
in English. As such it can serve both as an introduction to Ruber's 
works for those who have not yet read him and as a commentary and 
systematic presentation for those who have. The most obvious form 
in which the unity of Ruber's thought expresses itself is his philosophy 
of dialogue, and much of this book is centered on the development 
and implications of that philosophy. Rut I have also drawn Ruber's 
thoughts together in terms of his attitude toward the nature and re- 
demption of evil, and I have attempted to show the significance of this 
attitude for such fields as ethics, social philosophy, psychotherapy, 
and education. 

In treating a thinker whom many have criticized before understand- 
ing, my aim, first of all, has been to understand. I have also tried, in 
Parts V and VI, to show the impHcations of Ruber's thought for vari- 
ous aspects of human life and to evaluate the use that others have 
made of his thought. A special problem has been the faithful presen- 
tation of the dialogue that has existed throughout Ruber's creative life 
between Ruber as original thinker and Ruber as interpreter of tradi- 
tion. Here, too, one must walk the 'narrow ridge' — between the 
temptation of considering Ruber a thinker who reads his philosophy 
into his interpretations and that of considering him a thinker who 
derives his philosophy from his religious tradition. 

In addition to numerous changes and additions throughout, I have 
added to the present Torchbook edition of this book two pages of 
bibliography since 1955 and important supplementary notes at the 
end of the chapters on 'Psychotherapy' and 'Social Philosophy.' 

I should like to acknowledge by indebtedness to my friends Profes- 
sor Marvin Fox and Professor Abraham J. Heschel for criticism of 
this book in its early stages. I am deeply grateful to my wife Eugenia 
for her invaluable assistance as critic and editor and to Professor 
Ruber himself, without whose help, encouragement, and patient an- 
swering of questions throughout years of correspondence this book 
could not possibly have achieved its present form. I also wish to thank 
the editors of Judaism, The Journal of Bible and Religion, The Review 
of Religion, The Journal of Religion, and The Review of Metaphysics 
for permission to use materials from articles published in those 

Maurice S. Friedman 
Bronxville, New York 
August 1959 



Preface page 



The Narrow Ridge 



The Problem of Evil 









Philosophy of Judaism 



Philosophy of Realization 



Dialectic of Rehgion and Culture 



Community and Religious Socialism 



Threshold of Dialogue 




All Real Living is Meeting 



The World of /r 



The Eternal Thou 



What is Man? 



The Life of Dialogue 



XV. The Nature of Evil 101 

XVI. The Eclipse of God 113 

XVII. The Redemption of Evil 133 

XVm. For the Sake of Heaven 149 


XIX. Buber's Theory of Knowledge 161 

XX. Education 176 



XXI. Psychotherapy 
XXII. Ethics 
XXIII. Social Philosophy 

page 184 


XXIV. Symbol, Myth, and History 225 

The Eternal Thou as Religious Symbol, 225; The 
Symbol and the Concrete, 229; Myth, 231; History, 
XXV. The Faith of the Bible 239 

Creation, 240; Revelation, 243; The Kingship of 
God, 249; The God of the Sufferers, 252 
XXVI. Buber and Judaism 258 

XXVII. Buber and Christianity 268 

Conclusion 281 

Bibliography 283 

Works by Buber, 283; Works about Buber, 289; 
Works other than Buber's on Dialogue and the 
I-Thou Relation, 296; Works by Ruber since 1955 
Index 301 




I HAVE occasionally described my standpoint to my friends as the 
"narrow ridge," ' writes Buber. *I wanted by this to express that I 
did not rest on the broad upland of a system that includes a series 
of sure statements about the absolute, but on a narrow rocky ridge 
between the gulfs where there is no sureness of expressible knowledge 
3ut the certainty of meeting what remains undisclosed.' ^ Perhaps no 
Dther phrase so aptly characterizes the quahty and significance of Martin 
Buber's life and thought as this one of the 'narrow ridge.' It expresses 
not only the *holy insecurity' of his existentialist philosophy but also 
the 'I-Thou,' or dialogical, philosophy which he has formulated as a 
genuine third alternative to the insistent either-or's of our age. Buber's 
'narrow ridge' is no 'happy middle' which ignores the reality of paradox 
and contradiction in order to escape from the suffering they produce. 
It is rather a paradoxical unity of what one usually understands only 
as alternatives — I and Thou, love and justice, dependence and freedom, 
the love of God and the fear of God, passion and direction, good and 
evil, unity and duality. 

According to the logical conception of truth only one of two 
contraries can be true, but in the reaUty of life as one lives it they 
are inseparable. The person who makes a decision knows that his 
deciding is no self-delusion; the person who has acted knows that 
he was and is in the hand of God. The unity of the contraries is 
the mystery at the innermost core of the dialogue.^ 

In the light of this quality in Buber's thought, it is not surprising that 
many find his works diflScult to understand. Most of us approach a 
book expecting little other than an extension and application of concepts 

1 Martin Buber, Between Man and Man, trans, by Ronald Gregor Smith (London : 
KeganPaul, 1947), p. 184. 

2 Martin Buber, Israel and the World, Essays in a Time of Crisis (New Yorfc: 
Schocken Books, 1948), 'The Faith of Judaism,' p. 17. 



which we already possess or at the most a stretching of these concepts 
through the introduction of new perspectives. We find it painful, there- 
fore, to come up against a thinker like Buber who questions the 
fundamental channels of our thinking and forces us to think — if we 
are to follow him at all — in radically other ways. 

The German theologian Karl Heim wrote in 1934 that every age has 
a vital question that particularly belongs to it. To Heim the question 
for our age is that of the transcendence versus the immanence of God. 
For others the issue is naturalism versus anti-naturalism or *humani- 
tarian' religion and ethics versus the 'authoritarian.' Not only in 
philosophy and theology, but in education, art, politics, economics, and, 
in fact, every important field of thought, the typical pattern of our age 
is the increasing division of issues into conflicting and irreconcilable 
opposites. Thus in education 'objective' classical education battles with 
education for the individual or education based on 'subjective' interest. 
Again, science and religion or science and the humanities are set in 
opposition to each other, or the relation between them is falsified by 
still another pair of opposites: an objective 'scientific truth' and a 
subjective 'poetic truth.' In aesthetics art tends to be looked at as 
imitation of 'objective' reality or as 'subjective' expression. In politics 
civilization itself is threatened by a growing rift between democracy and 
communism — with an increasingly ominous insistence that 'peace' is to 
be obtained through the universalization of one of these points of view 
and the complete destruction of the other. Those who resort to an 
analysis of the underlying causes and value presuppositions of modern 
man's situation in the hope of finding there some clue for his salvation 
establish the either-or on still another plane: universalism versus 
exclusivism, knowledge versus wiU, error versus sin, collectivism versus 
individuaHsm, environment versus heredity, reason versus emotion, 
discipline versus permissiveness, security versus freedom — 'objectivism' 
versus 'subjectivism.' 

The gravest danger of these either-or's is not the increasing division 
of men within and between countries into hostile and intolerant groups, 
nor is it even the conflict and destruction which results and seems likely 
to result from these divisions. It is the falsification of truth, the falsi- 
fication of life itself. It is the demand that every man fit his thought and 
his way of life into one or the other of these hostile camps and the 
refusal to recognize the possibility of other alternatives which cannot 
be reduced to one of the two conflicting positions. In the light of this 
danger and its tremendous implications for our age, I should venture 
to say that the vital need of our age is to find a way of life and a way 
of thought which will preserve the truth of human existence in all its 
concrete complexity and which will recognize that this truth is neither 
'subjective' nor 'objective' — neither reducible to individual temperament 


The Narrow Ridge 

on the one hand, nor to any type of objective absolute or objective 
cultural relativism on the other. 

In all of Martin Buber's works we find a spiritual tension and 
seriousness, coupled with a breadth of scope which seeks constantly to 
relate this intensity to hfe itself and does not tolerate its limitation to 
any one field of thought or to thought cut off" from life. More remark- 
able still, Buber has accompUshed the rare feat of combining this 
breadth and intensity into an integral unity of life and thought, and he 
has done this without sacrificing the concrete complexity and para- 
doxicality of existence as he sees it. Buber's writings are unusual in 
their scope and variety, deaUng with topics in the fields of rehgion, 
mythology, philosophy, sociology, politics, education, psychology, art, 
and literature. Despite this variety, Buber's philosophy attains a central 
unity which pervades all of his mature works. 

Buber's thought has had a great influence on a large number of 
prominent writers and thinkers in many diff"erent fields, and it seems 
destined to have a steadily greater influence as its implications become 
clearer. His influence as a person, what is more, has been almost as 
great as the influence of his thought. It is this integral combination of 
greatness as a person and as a thinker which makes Buber one of the 
rare personalities of our time. The characteristic of both Buber's 
personality and his work, according to the German educator Karl 
Wilker, is 'the greatest conceivable consciousness of responsibility.' 

The more I have come to know him, not only through his works 
but also face to face, the more strongly I have felt that his whole 
personality tolerates no untruthfulness and no unclarity. There is 
something there that forces one to trace out the last ground of 
things. ... He who is thus must have experienced life's deepest 
essence. ... He must have lived and suffered . . . and he must have 
shared with us all our life and suffering. He must have stood his 
ground face to face with despair. . . . Martin Buber belongs to the 
most powerful renewal not only of a people but of mankind.^ 

The German Catholic thinkers Eugene Kogon and Karl Thieme speak 
of Buber in a similar fashion : 'In everything that he writes the undertone 
reveals that here speaks a man of faith, and, indeed, a man of active 
faith.' The most astonishing thing that one can say of Buber, they add, 
is that his person does not give the lie to his works.^ The socialist 
thinker. Dr. Heinz- Joachim Heydorn, goes even further in this direc- 
tion. What makes Buber's Ufe great, he writes, cannot be discovered 

1 Karl Wilker, 'Martin Buber,' Neue Wege, Zurich, XVII, No. 4 (April 1923), 
183 f. (my translation). 

2 Eugene Kogon and Karl Thieme, 'Martin Buber,' Frankfurter Hefte, VI, 3 
(March 1951), pp. 195-199. 



through what he has written in his books or through any sum of his 

Outside of Albert Schweitzer I know no one who has reaUzed in 
himself a similar great and genuine deep identity of truth and 

life This little, old man with the penetrating, incorruptible eyes 

has already today begun to project into the brokenness of our time 
like a legendary figure; he is a living proof of what this life is 
capable of when it wills to fulfill itself fearlessly and only in 
responsibility. . . . Buber has accomplished what one can only say 
of a very few : he has reached the limits of liis own being . . . and 
through this has made the universal transparent.^ 

One who has met Buber knows that he is marked above all by 
simplicity, humour, seriousness, genuine listening, and an unwavering 
insistence on the concrete. One of the most striking testimonies to Buber 
as a whole man is that of Hermann Hesse, the famous Swiss novelist 
and poet: 

Martin Buber is in my judgment not only one of the few wise 
men who live on the earth at the present time, he is also a writer of 
a very high order, and, more than that, he has enriched world 
literature with a genuine treasure as has no other living author — 
the Tales of the Hasidim. . . . Martin Buber ... is the worthiest 
spiritual representative of Israel, the people that has had to suff'er 
the most of all people in our time.^ 

Hesse's high estimate of Buber as a Uterary figure has been forcefully 
echoed by the noted authority on Greek religion and myth Karl 
Kerenyi, who impressively asserts Buber's claim to belong to the ranks 
of 'classical writers' in the fullest and deepest sense of the term. Classical 
writers, he says, possess the power of calling back to life and inspiriting 
the past and of recognizing in it a deep level of the soul. 'They are all 
discoverers and conquerors, reconquerors of what has apparently been 
lost, and, with every discovery . . . rediscoverers of man.' Buber brings 
to this task the multiple genius of one of the most gifted of Uving men, 
and the sphere of his gift is the universally human. To assess his 
significance for German and world literature it will be necessary to 
compare him with his early contemporaries, Hugo von Hofmannsthal 
and Rainer Maria Rilke, with whom he shared a common atmosphere 
of style and spirit, but also to go far beyond this atmosphere to the 

^ Heinz- Joachim Heydorn, 'Martin Buber und der Sozialismus,' GewerkschaftUche 
Monatshefte, Vol. IV, No. 12 (December 1953), pp. 705 f., 709 (my translation). 

2 From a letter of Hesse to a friend explaining his nomination of Buber for a 
Nobel Prize in literature in 1949. Hermann Hesse, Briefe, Vol. VIII of Gesammelte 
Werke (Berlin: Suhrkamp Verlag, 1951), p. 324 ff. (my translation). 


The Narrow Ridge 

world of the Hasidic Jew which Buber discovered in the fundamental 
sense of the term.^ 

From the time of his earliest writings Buber has been generally 
recognized as a master German stylist. Buber belongs, writes Ludwig 
Lewisohn, *to the very thin front ranks of living German masters of 
prose.' Buber's books, according to the German writer Wilhelm Michel, 
belong stylistically to the noblest that the essay art of this time has 
brought forth. His style is a mature one, says Michel, one that has 
developed with the years and come into its own. It is the speech of an 
ordered and fully disciplined spirit. 'It is rich with presence and 
corporeality ; it has drunk much of the sensual into itself and has become 
dense with it. But it has remained fuU of deep feeling and organic; each 
of its forms gleams with living meaning. ... It is the pure devotion to 
the word of a man simplified for the sake of God.' ^ 

In the quarter of a century since Michel wrote the above character- 
ization, the richly sensual quaUty of Buber's style has tended to decrease 
in favour of an ever greater simplicity and concreteness on the one hand 
and a more considered and meditative style on the other. At the same 
time, even in his scholarly and philosophical works, his writing has 
never wholly lost that poetic and emotive quality through which he has 
so remarkably integrated philosophical, religious, and artistic com- 
munication into one total address to the reader. In 1954 the German 
poet Fritz Diettrich said of Buber's style : *He has made our speech into 
so choice an instrument of his thought that he has taken his place by 
the side of Goethe and Schopenhauer as a master stylist.' 

I have never yet found a passage in Buber's works where he did 
not succeed in bringing even very diflScult material and philo- 
sophical dicta into a framework suitable to them. The cleanness of 
his thought and of his style are one. From this comes the honesty 
of his conclusions.^ 

The integral nature of Buber's style defies adequate translation and 
interpretation. None the less, even the Enghsh reader can glimpse in 

^ Karl Kerenyi, 'Martin Buber als Klassiker,' Neue Schweizer Rundschau, XX, 2 
(June 1952), pp. 89-95, my translation. The poet Rilke wrote with enthusiasm of 
Buber's Daniel (1913) and, according to the English Rilke scholar, J. B. Morse, was 
influenced by it in the writing of the ninth Duino Elegy. In 1950 J. B. Morse sent 
Professor Buber an essay on the influence of Buber's early ideas on Rilke, but I 
have not been able to discover where or whether this essay was published. See Rainer 
Maria Rilke, Briefe an seinen Verleger, pp. 180, 182. 

' Ludwig Lewisohn, Rebirth, A Book of Modern Jewish Thought (New York: 
Harper & Brothers, 1935), p. 87; Wilhehn Michel, Martin Buber, Sein Gang in die 
Wirklichkeit (Frankfurt am Main: Riitten & Loening, 1926), pp. 11-14. 

' Fritz Diettrich, 'Martin Buber. Die Stimme Israels,' an address over the Stuttgart 
Radio, February 1954, to be published the end of 1954 (my translation). 


translation the amazing achievement of condensation, concreteness, 
and integrality which is found in some of the most recent of his writ- 
ings: Images of Good and Evil, Right and Wrong, At the Turning, 
and, most especially, 'The Way of Man' in Hasidism and Modern Man. 

Martin Buber was bom in Vienna in 1878 and was brought up until 
the age of fourteen in the Galician home of his grandfather, Solomon 
Buber, one of the last great scholars of the Haskalah (Jewish enlighten- 
ment). He studied philosophy and the history of art at the University 
of Vienna and the University of Berlin, and in 1904 he received his 
Ph.D. from the latter university. In his twenties he was the leader of 
those Zionists who advocated a Jewish cultural renaissance as opposed 
to purely political Zionism. In 1902 Buber helped found the Judischer 
Verlag, a German- Jewish pubUshing house, and in 1916 he founded 
Der Jude, a periodical which he edited until 1924 and which became 
under his guidance the leading organ of German-speaking Jewry. From 
1926 to 1930 he published jointly with the Catholic theologian Joseph 
Wittig and the Protestant doctor and psychotherapist Viktor von 
Weizsacker the periodical Die Kreatur, devoted to social and peda- 
gogical problems connected with religion. From 1923 to 1933 Buber 
taught Jewish philosophy of religion and later the history of religions 
at the University of Frankfurt. In 1938 Buber left Germany to make his 
home in Palestine, and from that year through 1951 he served as 
professor of social philosophy at the Hebrew University, Jerusalem. 
After he became emeritus, the government of the state of Israel asked 
him to double the size of the Institute for Adult Education that he 
founded in 1949 and directed until 1953.^ This Institute trains teachers 
to go out to the immigration camps to help integrate the vast influx of 
immigrants into the already estabUshed community. 

Those who have met Buber or have heard him lecture have discovered 
the prophetic force of his personality and the tremendous strength and 
sincerity of his religious conviction. Everywhere he has spoken, the 
arresting man with the white beard and the penetrating, yet gentle, eyes 
has shown those present what it means to ask *real questions' and to 
give real answers. He has also shown again and again what it means to 
walk on the narrow ridge not only in one's thinking but in the whole 
of one's life. One of the foremost Zionist leaders and thinkers, he has 
also been the leader of those Jews who have worked for Jewish-Arab 
co-operation and friendship. Pioneer and still the foremost interpreter 
of Hasidism, he has preserved in his thinking the most positive aspects 

1 *After four years of a very vital existence, the Institute has been closed, following 
the cessation of mass immigration,' Buber writes. There survives a certain activity 
under the same name, being essentially the merit of my excellent co-worker, Dr. 
Gideon Freudenberg.' From a letter from Professor Buber to the author of August 
8, 1954. 


The Narrow Ridge 

of the Jewish enlightenment, Hasidism's traditional enemy. Translator 
and interpreter of the Hebrew Bible and spokesman for Judaism before 
the world, he has been deeply concerned since his youth with Jesus and 
the New Testament and has carried on a highly significant dialogue 
with many prominent Christian theologians, Protestant and Catholic 

Perhaps the most striking example of how Buber has followed the 
narrow ridge in his life is his attitude toward the German people after 
the war. He was the leader of the German Jews in their spiritual battle 
against Nazism, and he counts himself among *those who have not got 
over what happened and will not get over it.' Yet on September 27, 
1953, in historic Paulskirche, Frankfurt, Germany, he accepted the 
award of the Peace Prize of the German Book Trade. In his accept- 
ance speech Buber pointed out that less than a decade before several 
thousand Germans killed millions of his people and fellow-believers 
*in a systematically prepared and executed procedure, the organized 
cruelty of which cannot be compared with any earlier historical 

With those who took part in this action in any capacity, I, one 
of the survivors, have only in a formal sense a common humanity. 
They have so radically removed themselves from the human sphere, 
so transposed themselves into a sphere of monstrous inhumanity 
inaccessible to my power of conception, that not even hatred, much 
less an overcoming of hatred, was able to arise in me. And what 
am I that I could here presume to 'forgive'! 

At the same time Buber pointed to other classes of Germans who knew 
of these happenings only by hearsay, who heard rumours but did not 
investigate, and some who underwent martyrdom rather than accept 
or participate in this murder of a whole people. The inner battle of 
every people between the forces of humanity and the forces of in- 
humanity, writes Buber, is the deepest issue in the world today, obscured 
though it is by the *cold war' between gigantic camps. It is in the light 
of this issue that Buber understands both the award of the prize and 
his duty to accept it: 

Manifestations such as the bestowal of the Hansian Goethe Prize 
and the Peace Prize of the German Book Trade on a surviving 
arch- Jew ... are moments in the struggle of the human spirit against 
the demonry of the subhuman and the anti-human. . . . The 
solidarity of all separate groups in the flaming battle for the 
becoming of one humanity is, in the present hour, the highest duty 
on earth. To obey this duty is laid on the Jew chosen as symbol, 



even there, indeed just there, where the never-to-be-effaced 
memory of what has happened stands in opposition to it.^ 

* Martin Buber, Das echte Gesprdch und die Moglichkeiten des FriedenSy speech 
made by Buber on occasion of receiving the Friedenspreis des Deutschen Buch- 
handels, Frankfurt am Main, Paulskirche, September 27, 1953 (Heidelberg: Lambert 
Schneider Verlag, 1953), pp. 5-8. Das echte Gesprdch is also found as part of Martin 
Buber: FUnf Ansprachen anldsslich der Verleihung des Friedenspreises des Deutschen 
Buchhandels (Frankfurt am Main: Borsenverein Deutscher Verleger- und Buch- 
handler-Verbande, 1953), pp. 33-41 (my translation). Das echte Gesprdch ('Genuine 
Conversation and the Possibilities of Peace') was published in English in 
Martin Buber, Pointing the Way, Collected Essays, ed. and trans, by Maurice S. 
Friedman (New York: Harper & Brothers, 1957). 



IN no Other area of human experience is it more difficult to preserve 
the attitude of the 'narrow ridge* than in one's encounter v^ith evil, 
yet here too the metaphor of the 'narrow ridge' expresses the central 
quality of Buber's thought. Many in our age who discover the in- 
adequacy of the simple moral opposition between good and evil tend 
to reduce evil to illusion or objective error, or to absolutize it as some- 
thing radical, pure, and unredeemable. As a result, most of those who 
think and write about this problem do so from the standpoint of a 
choice between that attitude which sees good and evil as part of a higher 
unity and that which sees them as irreconcilable opposites. Although 
shadings from the two extremes exist and are recognized, neither side 
recognizes the independent reaUty of the position between — the dia- 
lectical attitude toward evil which sees it as both real and redeemable. 
Those philosophers and theologians who have followed Martin Buber 
in the 'I-Thou' philosophy have usually not seen that this dialectical 
attitude toward evil is inseparable from it as he understands it. 

Evil is one of the deepest and most central problems of human 
existence — a problem which every individual and every age must face 
for itself. The problem of evil is significant not primarily because of 
one's conscious concept of evil but because of the total attitude ex- 
pressed in the whole of one's life and thought. This attitude, in Buber's 
words, is 'a mode of seeing and being which dwells in life itself.' It under- 
Ues all our valuations, for valuing is nothing other than the decision as 
to what is good and evil and the attitude which one then takes toward 
the possibility of avoiding evil or transforming it into good. Valuing lies 
in turn at the heart of most fields of human thought. This is clearest of 
all in ethics, which is essentially the study of the relation between the 
'is' of human nature and the 'ought' of human possibihty. But it is no 
less important in psychology and the social sciences, for all of these 
fields are conditioned by the fact that their subject of study is the human 
being in his relation to other human beings. This impUes a recognition 



not only of the central importance of valuing in human life but also of 
the way in which the values of the psychologist and the social scientist 
affect their methods. In literature and the arts valuing affects the relation 
of the arts to human life and the critical standards by which the intrinsic 
merit of works of art are judged. This does not mean that all these 
fields are subject to the censure of some external standard of morality 
but rather that inherent in the very structure of each are value assump- 
tions. These value assumptions rest upon an implicit and often un- 
conscious attitude toward good and evil. 

Ruber's system of valuing is so closely connected with the problem 
of evil that this problem can be used as a unifying centre for his work 
without doing injustice to the many different fields in which he has 
written. This is, of course, to use the phrase in a somewhat different and 
broader sense than is traditional. Traditionally, the problem of evil has 
been Umited to the fields of metaphysics and theology. In our use of 
it it must be broadened to include other important phases of human 
life — philosophical anthropology, ethics, psychology, social philosophy, 
and even politics. This does not mean a change in the problem itself so 
much as a shift of emphasis and a greater concern with its concrete 
applications in the modern world. 

In theology and philosophy the problem of evil is ordinarily treated 
under the two headings of natural and moral evil. For the primitive man 
no such distinction existed, for everything to him was personal. Mis- 
fortune was looked on as caused by hostile forces, and these forces 
were conceived of not as manifestations of one personal God but as 
many *moment Gods' or specialized personal deities. The Book of Job, 
in contrast, rests on faith in one God who transcends the nature which 
He created. Nature is no longer personal in the old sense, yet God is 
felt to be responsible for what happens to man through nature, for it is 
He who directly sustains nature. The Greek view, on the other hand, 
tends to make God into an impersonal first cause. The development of 
science and secular civilization since the Renaissance has fortified this 
view. By the time of Hume, God is no longer considered the direct but 
only the indirect cause of nature, and nature is not only considered as 
impersonal but also as mechanical. There is no 'problem of evil' for 
this mechanistic and deterministic view of the world, for the place of 
God is finally taken altogether by blind chance, causality, and im- 
personal law. Yet the reality underlying the problem of evil is present 
all the time and in intensified form. The consequences of this view are 
reflected in writers such as Melville, Matthew Arnold, and Thomas 
Hardy, who picture the universe as a cold, impersonal reality hostile 
to the very existence of man. 'The heartless voids and immensities 
of the universe' threaten to annihilate all personaUty and human 


The Problem of Evil 
Few modern philosophies supply a standpoint from which the 
problem of evil can be adequately recognized and dealt with. For 
scientific realism 'evil' is simply technical error. For pragmatism it 
is ultimately anything which threatens subjective interest by creating 
deficiencies or preventing their being overcome. For philosophical 
vitaUsm evil is the static, anything that stands in the way of vital 
evolution, while good is vital movement, which it is assumed will 
ultimately be triumphant, as if there were still another principle of 
good underlying the whole process. In criticism of this non-dialectical 
immanentism as it is expressed in the philosophy of Bergson Buber 
writes : 

The crucial religious experiences of man do not take place in a 
sphere in which creative energy operates without contradiction, 
but in a sphere in which evil and good, despair and hope, the power 
of destruction and the power of rebirth, dwell side by side. The 
divine force which man actually encounters in life does not hover 
above the demonic, but penetrates it.^ 

"■ There are four types of evil of which the modern age is particularly 
aware : the loneUness of modern man before an unfriendly universe and 
before men whom he associates with but does not meet ; the increasing 
tendency for scientific instruments and techniques to outrun man's 
ability to integrate those techniques into his life in some meaningful 
and constructive way; the inner duality of which modern man has 
become aware through the writings of Dostoievsky and Freud and the 
development of psychoanalysis; and the deliberate and large-scale 
degradation of human Ufe within the totaUtarian state. 

What new attitudes toward evil do these typically modern mani- 
festations of evil evoke in the modern man? A greater belief in the 
reality of evil, certainly, and an impatient rejection of the shallow 
optimism and naive faith in progress of preceding ages. For some this 
has meant a more and more complete determinism and naturahsm, for 
others a return to Gnostic ideas of duaUsm or early Protestant emphases 
on original sin. Many have lost the belief in the dignity of man or have 
tended to move away from fife in the world to the certainty of a mystic 
absolute. Finally, a new attitude original with our age has been the 
atheistic existentialism which grits its teeth in the face of despair and 
assigns to man the task of creating for himself a reahty where none 
now exists. A striking example of the way in which the attitude toward 
evil has been influenced by the horror of recent events is found in a 

^ Martin Buber, Eclipse of God, Studies in the Relation between Religion and 
Philosophy (New York: Harper &, Brothers, 1952), 'Religion and Reality,' trans, by 
Norbert Guterman, p. 31. 



statement of Jean-Paul Sartre born out of the experience of the French 

For political realism as for philosophical idealism Evil was not 
a very serious matter. We have been taught to take it seriously. It 
is neither our fault nor our merit if we lived in a time when torture 
has been a daily fact. Chateaubriant, Oradour, the Rue des Saus- 
saies, Tulle, Dachau, and Auschwitz have all demonstrated to us 
that Evil is not an appearance, that knowing its causes does not 
dispel it, that it is not opposed to Good as a confused idea is to a 
clear one, that it is not the effect of passions which might be cured, 
of a fear which might be overcome, of a passing aberration which 
might be excused, of an ignorance which might be enlightened, that 
it can in no way be turned, brought back, reduced, and in- 
corporated into idealistic humanism. . . . We heard whole blocks 
screaming and we understood that Evil, fruit of a free and sovereign 
will, is, like Good, absolute. ... In spite of ourselves, we came to 
this conclusion, which will seem shocking to lofty souls: Evil 
cannot be redeemed.^ 

What unites all these attitudes toward evil is their common origin in 
a deadly serious recognition of the power of evil in the modern world 
and the intensity with which those who hold them attempt to work out 
a means of meeting this evil which will enable them to retain their 
personal integration. But they do not all hold, as does Sartre, that evil 
is absolute and unredeemable. For those who hold the dialectical 
attitude toward evil, good cannot exist in solitary splendour, nor is it 
opposed by a radically separate evil with which it has nothing to do. 
Evil must exist in this middle position, but it is bound up with good in 
such a way that both are parts of a larger process, of a greater whole, 
which is at once origin and goal. Thus evil ii in one way or another 
recognized as having reality, even if only that of a temporary accom- 
paniment of unredeemed creation ; but its reality is never permanent, 
nor is it ever completely divorced from the good. Hence it is capable 
of redemption by the process of the world spirit, the grace of God, or 
the redemptive activity of man. 

Although many significant changes occur in Buber's thought during 
the fifty years of his productivity, it is in this middle position between 
the unreality and the radical reality of evil that we shall always find him. 
His attitude has changed from a tendency to regard evil in largely 
negative terms to a tendency to ascribe to it greater and greater 
emotional and ontological reality. But he has never considered evil an 
absolute, nor has he lost faith in its possible redemption. Elizabeth 

^ Jean-Paul Sartre, 'Literature in Our Time,' section iv, Partisan Review, XV, 
No. 6 (June 1948), p. 635 ff. 


The Problem of Evil 

Rotten has quoted Buber as saying, *One must also love evil . . . even 
as evil wishes to be loved.' '^ This statement is symbolic of the way in 
which he has consistently answered this question: good can be maxi- 
mized not through the rejection or conquest of evil but only through 
the transformation of evil, the use of its energy and passion in the 
service of the good. 

1 Elizabeth Rotten, 'Aus den Ofifenbamngen der Schwester Mechtild von Magde- 
burg,' Aus unbekannten Schriften. Festgabe fiir Martin Buber, ed. by Franz Rosen- 
zweig and Ludwig Strauss (Berlin: Lambert Schneider Verlag, 1928), p. 65 f. 



I ^PART from his philosophy of dialogue, Martin Buber is best 
/\ known for making Hasidism a part of the thought and culture 
L/ JLof the western world. Hasidism is the popular mystical move- 
ment that swept East European Jewry in the eighteenth and nineteenth 
centuries. In his essay, Mein Weg zum Chassidismus (*My Road to 
Hasidism'), Buber tells of how his father took him on occasional visits 
to the Hasidic community of Sadagora in Galicia when he was a child. 
Although estranged by the conspicuous grandeur of the zaddik (the 
leader of the Hasidic community) and by the wild gestures of the 
Hasidim in prayer, when he saw the rebbe stride through the rows of 
the waiting he felt that here was a leader, and when he saw the Hasidim 
dance with the Torah, he felt that here was a community. Later he 
went through a period of uncreative intellectuality and spiritual con- 
fusion, living without centre and substance. Through Zionism he gained 
new roots in the community, but it was only through Hasidism that the 
movement which he had joined took on meaning and content. One day 
on reading a saying by the founder of Hasidism about the fervour and 
daily inward renewal of the pious man, he recognized in himself the 
Hasidic soul, and he recognized piety, hasidut, as the essence of Judaism. 
This experience occurred in his twenty-sixth year. As a result of it, he 
gave up his poUtical and journalistic activity and spent five years in 
isolation studying Hasidic texts. ^ It was only after he emerged from 
this isolation into renewed activity that he entered on his real life work 
as a writer, a speaker, and a teacher. 

Of the many different cultural strains that converged in Buber's 
thought, Hasidism is perhaps the least familiar. The Hebrew word hasid ' 
means *pious.' It is derived from the noun hesed, meaning lovingkind- 
ness, mercy, or grace. The Hasidic movement arose in Poland in the 
eighteenth century and, despite bitter persecution at the hands of " 

^Martin Buber, Hinweise. Gesammelte Essays (Zurich: Manesse Verlag, 
1953), pp. 179-196; Hasidism and Modern Man, Vol. I of Hasidism and the Way 
of Man, ed. and trans, by M. Friedman (N.Y.: Horizon Press, 1958), pp. 47-69. 


traditional Rabbinism, spread rapidly among the Jews of eastern 
Europe until it included almost half of them in its ranks. The founder 
of Hasidism was Rabbi Israel ben Eliezer (1700-60), who is more 
commonly known as the Baal-Shem-Tov, the master of the good name 
of God. Originally a simple teacher, then later a magic healer, he finally 
gathered about him a group of disciples dedicated to a life of mystic 
fervour, joy, and love. Reacting against the tendency of traditional 
Rabbinism toward strict legalism and arid intellectualism, the Baal 
Shem and his followers exalted simplicity and devotion above mere 

Despite its excommunication and persecution at the hands of tradi- 
tional Rabbinism, Hasidism was firmly rooted in the Jewish past and 
was perhaps more truly an expression of that past than any Jewish 
movement in modem times. The Hasidic emphasis on piety, on love of 
God and one's neighbour, and on joy in God's creation goes clearly 
back to the Prophets, the Psalms, and the school of Hillel. Within the 
context of post-biblical Judaism Hasidism may be considered as a 
union of three different currents. One of these is the Jewish law as 
expressed in the Talmudic Halakhah ; the second is the Jewish legend 
and saying as expressed in the Talmudic Haggadah and in later Jewish 
mythology; and the third is the Kabbalah, the Jewish mystical *tradition.' 
The central concepts of Hasidism derive from and can only be under- 
stood in terms of the theoretical Kabbalah of the Middle Ages and the 
Lurian Kabbalah of sixteenth-century Safed. 

The theoretical Kabbalah (as it is set forth in the Zohar, the *Book of 
Splendour') is in essence a complex theosophical system which explains 
creation in terms of ten sefirot, aspects or emanations of God. The 
origin of evil is explained in terms of a disharmony arising within these 
emanations so that God's quality of judgment became separate from 
His quality of mercy. To some extent this evil is believed to be prior 
to man, but to some extent also it is felt to be actualized by the fall of 
man. The result of this evil is a separation between the En-Sof, the 
hidden nature of God, and the Shekinah, His Glory which is immanent 
in the world. This separation is expressed in terms of *the exile of the 
Shekinah,' and redemption is spoken of in terms of the yihud, or the 
reunification of God and His Glory. This reunification can be initiated 
and in part brought about through the pious actions of man and 
through his cleaving to God (devekuth); for man is created with free 
will and with the power to be a co-worker with God in the restoration 
of the original harmony. 

The Lurian Kabbalah is largely based on the Zohar, and hke it bears 
marked resemblances to Neo-Platonism and various forms of Gnos- 
ticism. It differs from it, however, in a number of new and highly 
complex concepts which make it of a more theistic nature than the 


earlier Kabbalah and yet cause it to lay much stronger emphasis on the 
power of man to bring about the Messianic redemption of Israel and 
the world. In the Zohar the sefirot were derived almost directly from 
the hidden Absolute, passing first through a *region of pure absolute 
Being which the mystics call Nothing.' In the Lurian Kabbalah the out- 
going movement of creation is thought to have been preceded at every 
point by a voluntary contraction or self-Umitation of God (tsimtsum) 
which makes room for creation and gives man real freedom to do evil 
as well as good. Thus God is removed from rather than directly present 
in His creation. However, something of the flavour of divinity remains 
in the space that God has left, and this flavour is preserved in the 
various sefirot and worids that then evolve. 

Evil here, as in the Zohar, is explained as a waste-product of creation 
and an inevitable result of the hmitation, or judgment, that must take 
place if separate things are to exist at all. But the origin of evil is 
explained here under a different figure, that of shevirath ha-kelim — the 
breaking of the vessels which contain the divine grace. As the result of 
the breaking of the vessels, the divine harmony is disrupted, the 
Shekinah is exiled, and sparks of divinity fall downward into physical 
creation. In the physical worid the sparks are surrounded by hard shells 
of darkness (qelipot), a type of negative evil. This whole process is 
further confirmed by the fall of man, but it is also within man's power 
to liberate the divine sparks from their imprisonment in the shells and 
send them upward again to union with their divine source. Through 
this liberation the power of darkness is overcome and tikkun, the 
restoration of the original harmony, is effected. 

This restoration in itself causes the redemption of man and the world. 
Though it cannot be completed by man's action, man can start the 
movement which God will complete by sending down His grace to the 
world in the form of the Messiah. For this purpose man must not only 
observe every injunction of the law but he must practise mystical prayer, 
and he must bring to his actions and prayers special types of mystical 
intention, or kavanot. Kavanah represents a deliberate concentration of 
will, an inner attitude which is far more effective than the particular 
nature of the action being performed. However, the greatest effective- 
ness is only secured by the practice of special kavanot for each of the 
different actions. Thus, what was at its best a concern for inward 
devotion became at its worst an attempt to use magic to bring about 
the advent of the Messiah.^ 

Hasidism preserved the Messianic fervour of the people, yet it turned 
that fervour away from the future to the love of God and man in the 

^ Gershom G. Scholem, Major Trends in Jewish Mysticism (New York: Schocken 
Books, 1946), chaps, vi-vii; Ernst Mueller, History of Jewish Mysticism (Oxford: 
East and West Library, 1946), chaps. vi-viL 



Ipresent moment. It taught that the present moment is itself the moment 
of redemption that leads to the ultimate consummation. It infused a 
new and warm life-feeling into Kabbalistic theory, and it shifted its 
emphasis away from theosophical speculation to mystical psychology — 
to a concern with the progress of the individual soul in its efforts to 
purify itself, to help others, and to cleave to God. Kabbalistic doctrine 
was replaced by the personaHty of the zaddik in whom the Hasidim 
found the embodiment of those very virtues which they needed for their 
redemption and from whom they learned the right way for each of 
them to travel while in the life of the body. This way varied from Hasid 
to Hasid, for the Hasidim believed that as God is represented differently 
by each man, so each must discover his individuality and bring it to 
ever purer perfection. Not only were individual differences looked on 
as of value, but it was believed that it was only through them that the 
perfection of the whole could be reached.^ This Hasidic individuaUty is 
strikingly embodied in a saying of Rabbi Zusya: 'In the coming world, 
they will not ask me: "Why were you not Moses?" They will ask me: 
"Why were you not Zusya?" ' 

JThe individuaUty of the Hasidim went hand in hand with a more 
intimate communal Ufe than had yet been known in the Judaism of the 
Diaspora, and it is this communal Hfe, centring around the personaUty 
of the *true illuminate,' that Scholem has called Hasidism's greatest 
originaUty. Unlike the rqv of traditional Rabbinism, the zaddik, or 
rebbe, was at once a saint, dwelling with God in the solitude of the 
mountain-tops, and a man of the people, transforming his mysticism 
into ethos and bringing it to the community in the valley below.^ The 
strength of Hasidism lay in the zaddik, and the amazing spread of the 
movement in the first fifty years of its existence is a tribute to the true 
spiritual charisma of its leaders — *a whole galaxy of saint-mystics,' 
writes Scholem, *each of them a startling individuality.' ^ 

Unfortunately the strength of the Hasidic movement was also its 
weakness. The dependence of the Hasidim on the zaddik left the way 
open to a grasping for power which eventually tended to produce a 
degeneration of the zaddik as a spiritual type and the consequent 
degeneration of the movement. Faith and reUgious enthusiasm were 
replaced in many cases by obscurantism and superstition, and the true 
charismatic was almost obscured by hereditary dynasties of zaddikim 
who lived in oriental luxury and exploited the credulity of the people.* 

^ Mueller, op. cit., p. 140 f.; Scholem, op. cit., pp. 338-341; Torsten Ysander, 
Studien zum B'estschen Hasidismus in seiner religionsgeschichdichen Sonderart 
(Uppsala: A. B. Lundequistska Bokhandehi, 1933), p. 139; Lazar Gulkowtisch, 
Der Hasidismus, religionswissenschafdich untersucht (Leipzig: 1927), pp. 31, 56. 

2 Scholem, op. cit., p. 342 ff.; Mueller, op. cit., p. 148. 

^ Scholem, op. cit., p. 337 f. 

* Ibid., pp. 336 f., 344-348; Mueller, op. cit., p. 145. 




Hasidism takes over from the Lurian Kabbalah most of its principal 
concepts in somewhat simplified and popularized form, but it givea 
these concepts an emotional content that sometimes makes them veryi 
different from the original. Thus the idea of tsimtsum, or the self- 
limitation of God, is given a metaphorical rather than a literal inter- 
pretation which enables it to coexist with the strongest possible em- 
phasis on the immanence of God, or God's Glory, in all things. The 
world is in the closest possible connection with God, and nature is in 
fact nothing but the garment of God. God clothed Himself in the world 
in order to lead man step by step to the place where he can see God \ 
behind the appearances of external things and can cleave to Him in all 
his actions. 

The Hasidic emphasis on the immanence of God is not to be regarded 
as pantheism, but as panentheism. The godly in the world must be 
brought through our action to ever greater and purer perfection. Man 
has a part in the Shekinah which enables him to be a co-worker with 
God in the perfection of the world toward redemption. Thus the stress 
of Hasidism is on the actual consummation of religious life — the inward 
experience of the presence of God and the actualization of that presence 
in all one's actions. 

The attitude of Hasidism toward evil grows out of its concept of 
God. Since God is embodied in the world, there is no absolute but only 
relative evil. Evil is the lowest rung or the throne of the good — an 
appearance, a shell, or a lesser grade of perfection. Evil only seems real 
because of our imperfect knowledge which causes us to fail to see the 
deep connections between happenings. Sin correspondingly is self- 
assertion, not seeing God's immanence in all things. Evil serves the 
good precisely through its opposition to it, for through evil man comes 
to know God even as through darkness he comes to know light. More- 
over, evil can itself be redeemed and transformed into the good. Not 
only the sparks of divinity but the qelipot, or shell of darkness, may 
ascend and be purified, and the *evil impulse' in man, the yezer ha-ra, 
can be redirected and used to serve God.^ 

The fact that Hasidism lays less emphasis upon the knowledge off 
God's immanence than on the confirmation of that knowledge through i 
dedicated action shows that evil is not for Hasidism, as for the Hindu i 
Vedanta, pure illusion. It has reality, even though this reality is only ' 
relative. The sparks must in truth be liberated, the shells must in truth i 

^ Scholem, op. cit., p. 347 f.; Mueller, op. cit., pp. 141, 143; Chajim Bloch, 
Priester der Liebe. Die Welt der Chassidim (Zurich: Amalthea-Verlag, 1930), p. 22 f.; , 
Simon Dubnovv, Geschichte des Chassidismus (Berlin: Jiidischer Verlag, 1931), ,j 
2 vols., I, 95 f.; Gulkowitsch, op. cit., pp. 48-51, 30 f.; Ysander, op. cit., pp. 134-142, . 
145 f., 200, 208, 212-21 6\ Paul Levertoff, Die religiose Denkweise der Chassidim t 
(Leipzig: F. C. Hinrischs'sche Buchhandlung, 1918), pp. 10, 38 f. 


be transformed, and the *evil impulse,' which God created and which 
man made evil through his sin, must be turned once more to the service 
of God. This turning to God is spoken of by Hasidism as the teshumh — 
a repentance and purification in which one cleaves to God with all the 
power with which he formerly did evil. Through the teshuvah man not 
only redeems himself but he liberates the divine sparks in the men and 
objects around him. The redemption of the individual prepares the way 
for the ultimate Messianic redemption, but the latter is only brought 
about through God. The individual redemption is like the ultimate one 
in that it is a redemption rather than a conquest of evil — a redemption 
which transforms it into good and realizes the oneness of God in all 
things. The individual's turning to God is thus the most effective action 
possible for the yihud— the reunification of God with His exiled 

For this reason Hasidism transforms the Lurian kavanah from a 
special, magical intention into a general consecration or inner dedica- 
tion which man brings to all his actions. The Hasidic kavanah 'signifies 
less an effort of the will centred on the attainment of a definite end than 
the purposeful direction of the whole being in accordance with some 
feeling springing from the depths of one's nature.' ^ Without kavanah no 
service of God (abodah) has any value, for right moral action is depen- 
dent on the intensity of inner religious feeling. Thus Hasidism does not 
recognize any division between religion and ethics — between the direct 
relation to God and one's relations to one's fellows, nor is its ethics 
limited to any prescribed and peculiar action. In Hasidism, writes 
Buber, the Kabbalah became ethos. This meant a true religious revolu- 
tion in which devotion absorbed and overcame gnosis. The Hasidic 
movement took from the Kabbalah only what it needed for the theo- 
logical foundation of an inspired life in responsibility — the responsibility 
jOf each individual for the piece of the world entrusted to him.^ 
I The Hasidic attitude toward the law, revelation, and the life of the 
senses is consistent with its concept of kavanah. The Torah is a priceless 
gift of God when it is used to conquer the evil impulse and to transform 
the inner life of man, but not when it is made an end in itself— a joyless 
burden or an occasion for intellectual subtlety. Similarly, although 
Hasidism believes in the historical revelation of God, it regards the 
feeling and consciousness of God's nearness as equally as important 
as the acceptance of tradition. The revelation of God to the fathers of 
Israel must be confirmed and renewed in the inner life of every believer. 
In the same way Hasidism rejects the Lurian tendency to asceticism for 

^ Mueller, op. cit., p. 141 f. 

- Martin Buber, The Origin and Meaning of Hasidism, Vol. II of Hasidism 
and the Way of Man, ed. and trans, by Maurice Friedman (New York: Hori- 
zon Press, 1960), IX. 'Supplement: Christ, Hasidism, Gnosis.' 



its own sake and emphasizes instead a holy joy in the sensual life which 
will hallow and sanctify it. The redemption of the individual is twofold : 
the freeing of the soul from externals which enables it to enter into God 
and the entrance of God into the world through which the world is 
purified and uplifted. The hfe of the senses is, therefore, to be set aside 
only when the individual becomes attached to it for its own sake so 
that it becomes a hindrance to his meeting with God.^ 

The real essence of Hasidism is revealed not so much in its concepts 
as in the three central virtues which derive from these concepts: love, 
joy, and humility. For Hasidism the world was created out of love and 
is to be brought to perfection through love. Love is central in God's 
relation to man and is more important than fear of God, justice, or 
righteousness. The fear of God is only a door to the love of God — it is ' 
the awe which one has before a loving father. God is love, and the | 
capacity to love is man's innermost participation in God. This capacity i 
is never lost but needs only to be purified to be raised to God Himself. 
Thus love is not only a feeling; it is the godly in existence. Nor can one 
love God unless he loves his fellow man, for God is immanent in man 
as in all of His creation. For the same reason the love of God and the 
love of man is to be for its own sake and not for the sake of any reward. 

The Hasidic emphasis on joy also comes from the knowledge of the 
presence of God in all things. This joy has a double character. It is at 
once a joyous affirmation of the external world and a joyous penetration i 
into the hidden world behind the externals. In perfect joy the body and ' 
the soul are at one: this precludes both extreme asceticism and Uber- 
tinism. To cultivate joy is one of Hasidism's greatest commandments, 
for only joy can drive out the *alien thoughts' and qelipot that distract 
man from the love of God. Conversely, despair is worse than even sin; 
for it leads one to believe oneself in the power of sin and hence to give 
in to it. 

Humility for Hasidism means a denial of self, but not a self-negation, i 
Man is to overcome the pride which grows out of his feeling of separate- 
ness from others and his desire to compare himself with others. But 
man is at the same time not to forget that he is the son of a king, that 
he is a part of the godly. Thus Hasidic humility is a putting off" of man's 
false self in order that he may affirm his true self— the self which finds 
its meaning in being a part and only a part of the whole. Humility, Hke 
joy and love, is attained most readily through prayer. Prayer is the most 
important way to union with God and is the highest means of self- 
redemption. Hasidic prayer, however, was not always prayer in its most ; 
ordinary sense. Sometimes it took the form of traditional prayer, some- \ 
times of mystical meditation in preparation for the prescribed prayers, ' 

1 Ysander, op. cit., pp. 275 f., 251 f., 256, 178 f., 281, 260-270, 140 if., 170, 279; 
Bloch, op. cit., p. 30; Mueller, op. cit., p. 140. 



and sometimes of hitlahabut, or an ecstatic intuition into the true nature 
: of things.^ Even the Hasidic singing and dancing might be justifiably 
I conceived, at its highest, as a way of praying. 

' 1 Ysander, op. cit., pp. 149, 166-171, 176, 335, 137, 279, 189 f., 134 f., 246, 283; 
; Levertoff, op. cit., p. 10; Gulkowitsch, op. cit., pp. 51 f., 57, 59 f., 72; Martin Buber, 
I For the Sake of Heaveriy trans, by Ludwig Lewisohn (Philadelphia: The Jewish 
Publication Society, 1945; 2nd Edition, with new Foreword, New York: Harper & 
, Brothers, 1953), p. 7; Dubnow, op. cit., I, 96 f. 




THE development of Buber's thought from his earliest essays in 
1900 to the statement of his mature philosophy in 1922 can best 
be understood as a gradual movement from an early period of 
mysticism through a middle period of existentialism to a final period 
of developing dialogical philosophy. Most of the ideas which appear 
in the early periods are not really discarded in the later but are preserved 
in changed, form.JThus Buber's existentiaUsm retains much of his 
mysticism, and his dialogical philosophy in turn includes important 
mystical and existential elements. 

The revival of mysticism at the turn of the century was in part a 
reaction against determinism and against the increasing specialization 
of knowledge. It was also a continuation of the mystical tendencies of 
the German romantics who could trace their ancestry back through 
Goethe and SchelUng to the Pietists and Jacob Boehme. It was, finally, 
a result of the growing interest in mythology and in the reUgions of the 
Orient. All of these movements exercised a strong influence on Buber's 
thought. The influence of Hinduism and Buddhism was most important 
at an early period. That of Taoism came sUghtly later and has persisted 
into Buber's mature philosophy. At least as important was the influence 
of the German mystics from Meister Eckhart to Angelus Silesius. Of 
these mystics, the two most important for Buber were Meister Eckhart 
and Jacob Boehme, the former of whom Buber has called *the greatest 
thinker of western mysticism.' These mystics provided a bridge for 
Buber to Jewish mysticism. The German mystical idea of the birth in 
the soul of the Urgrund, or godhead, resembles the KabbaUstic and 
Hasidic idea of the unification of God and His exiled immanence. The 
two concepts together led Buber, he says, 'to the thought of the reahza- 
tion of God through man' which he later abandoned for the idea of the 
meeting of God and man.^ 

^ Hans Kohn, Martin Buber, Sein Werk und seine Zeit, Ein Versuch iiber Religion 
und Politik (Hellerau: Jakob Hegner Verlag, 1930), p. 56; Hasidism, op. cit., 'God 


Buber*s Early Thought 

One of the basic motivations for Buber's interest in mysticism in this 
period was his concern with the problem of the relation between the 
individual and the world. On the one hand, he recognized as prime 
facts of his experience the division between the T and the world and 
the duality within man. On the other, he posited the unity of the T and 
the world in both intellectual and emotional terms. It is this very 
experience of aloneness and division which may have provided the great 
attraction of the mystic unity of all things. But it is this experience, 
too, which probably caused Buber to reject his earlier monistic formu- 
lations of an already existing unity which only needs to be discovered 
for a later emphasis on the necessity of realizing unity in the world 
through genuine and fulfilled life. 

*God is not divided but everywhere whole, and where he reveals him- 
self, there he is wholly present.' This wonderful world-feeling has 
become wholly our own, writes Buber. We have woven it in our inner- 
most experience. There often comes to us the desire to put our arms 
around a young tree and feel the same surge of life as in ourselves or to 
read our own most special mystery in the eyes of a dumb animal. We 
experience the ripening and fading of far-distant stars as something 
which happens to us, and there are moments in which our organism is 
a wholly other piece of nature.^ 

The unity which the ecstatic experiences when he has brought all his 
former multiplicity into oneness is not a relative unity, bounded by the 
existence of other individuals. It is the absolute, unlimited oneness 
which includes all others. The only true accompaniment of such 
experience is silence, for any attempt at communication places the 
ecstatic back in the world of multipHcity. Yet when the ecstatic returns 
to the world, he must by his very nature seek to express his experience. 
The need of the mystic to communicate is not only weakness and 
stammering; it is also power and melody. The mystic desires to bring 
the timeless over into time — he desires to make the unity without 
multiplicity into the unity of all multiplicity. This desire brings to mind 
the great myths of the One which becomes the many because it wishes 
to know and be known, to love and be loved — the myths of the *r that 

and the Soul,' p. 148; Between Man and Man, op. cit., 'What Is Man?' pp. 184-185. 
In addition to his many translations and recreations of Hasidic tales and other 
Jewish legends, Buber edited and wrote introductions to a selection of the parables 
of Chuang-Tse — Reden und Gleichnisse des Tschuang-Tse (Leipzig: Insel-Verlag, 
1914), a book of Chinese ghost and love stories — Chinesischen Geister- und Liebes- 
geschichten (Frankfurt am Main: Riitten & Loening, 1911), a book of Celtic sayings 
— Die vier Zweige des Mabinogi (Leipzig: Insel-Verlag, 1914), and a translation of 
the national epic of Finland — Kalewala (Munich: Georg Miiller, 1914). Buber's 
introduction to the Kalewala was reprinted under the title 'Das Epos des Zauberers' 
in Hinweise, op. cit., pp. 84-103. 

1 Martin Buber, 'Ueber Jakob Bohme,' Wiener Rundschau, V, No. 12 (June 15, 
1901), pp. 251-253. 


creates a Thou,' of the Godhead that becomes God. Is not the 
experience of the ecstatic a symbol of the primeval experience of the 
worid spirit? ^ 

Corresponding to this dialectic between primal unity and the multi- 
plicity of the worid is the dialectic between conflict and love. The move- 
ment of conflict leads to individuation, that of love to God. Conflict 
is the bridge in and through which one T reveals itself in its beauty 
to another 'L' Love is the bridge through which being unites itself with 
God. Out of the intermixture of the two comes hfe, in which things 
neither exist in rigid separation nor melt into one another but recipro- 
cally condition themselves. This concept finds its completion, writes 
Buber, in Ludwig Feuerbach's sentence : 'Man with man — the unity of 
I and Thou — is God.' The most personal Hes in the relation to the other. 
Join a being to all beings and you lure out of it its truest individuality.^ 

God is immanent within the world and is brought to perfection 
through the world and through the life of man. The world is no being 
over against one. It is a becoming. We do not have to accept the world 
as it is; we continually create it. We create the world in that we un- 
knowingly lend our perceptions the concentration and firmness that 
make them into a reality. But deeper and more inwardly we consciously 
create the world in that we let our strength flow into the becoming, in 
that we ourselves enter into world destiny and become an element in 
the great event.^ 

Human Ufe itself is the bearer and reality of all transcendence. Tao, 
*the way,' is unity in change and transformation, and the perfect 
revelation of Tao is the man who combines the greatest change with the 
purest unity. Though Tao is the path, order, and unity of everything, 
it exists in things only potentially until it becomes living and manifest 
through its contact with the conscious being of the united man. Tao 
appears in men as the uniting force that overcomes all deviation from 
the ground of life, as the completing force that heals all that is sundered 
and broken.* 

The Uved unity of the Tao cannot be attained by knowledge and 
action as men ordinarily conceive them ; for what men call knowledge 
consists of the sunderance of the senses and mental power, and what 
men call action -consists of the sunderance of intention and deed. More- 
over, what men call human love and righteousness has nothing in 

^ Ekstatische Konfessionen (Jena: Eugen Diedrichs Verlag, 1909), pp. xi-xxvi. 

2 'Ueber Jakob Bohme,' op. cit., p. 252; Lesser Ury,' p. 45 f. (see below, p. 51, n. 1). 

^ 'Ueber Jacob Bohme,' p. 251. 

" Martin Buber, Die Rede, die Lehre, und das Lied (Leipzig: Insel Verlag, 1920), 
pp. 40-79. 'Die Lehre von Tao' was originally published as a 'Nachwort' to Reden 
und Gleichnisse des Tschuang-Tse. It was most recently reprinted in Hinweise, 
op. cit., pp. 44-83, and in Pointing the Way, op. cit., 'The Teaching of the Tao,' 
pp. 31-58. 


Buber's Early Thought 

common with the love of the perfect man, for it is perverted by being 
the subject of a command. The true action, the appearance of which is 
non-action, is a working of the whole being. To interfere with the life 
of things is to harm both them and oneself. But to rest is to effect, to 
purify one's own soul is to purify the world, to surrender oneself to 
Tao is to renew creation. He who performs this action, or non-action, 
stands in harmony with the essence and destiny of all things.^ 

Thus for Buber's early mystical philosophy, evil is equivalent to inner 
division and separation from the ground of life, and the redemption of 
evil is the realization of a lived unity which not only removes the 
dissension in the individual but makes actual the unity and perfection 
of the world. Buber does not treat evil as pure illusion but as a negative 
force interacting with the good in a process leading back to the original 
unity. For Buber, as for the Baal-Shem, evil is no essence but a lack — 
the throne of the good, the 'shell' which surrounds and disguises the 
essence of things. Though negative, evil is real and must be redeemed 
through the wholeness and purity of man's being. 

^ 'Die Lehre von Tao,' op. cit., pp. 80-94. CI. Buber's important Foreword to 
Pointing the Way, p. ix-x, in which he states that he has included The Teaching 
of the Tao' in this collection because it belongs to that 'mystical' 'stage that I 
had to pass through before I could enter into an independent relationship with 
being.' This experience of the unity of the self is understood by the mystic as 
the experience of the unity, and this leads him to turn away from his existence 
as a man to a duality of 'higher' hours of ecstasy and 'lower' hours in the world 
which are regarded as preparation for the higher. 'The great dialogue between 
I and Thou is silent; nothing else exists than his self, which he experiences as 
the self. That is certainly an exalted form of being untrue, but it is still being 



THE two great movements which revolutionized Judaism in the 
eighteenth and nineteenth centuries were the Haskalah, or en- 
hghtenment, and Hasidism. At its outset the rational Haskalah 
turned naturally to western Europe for its inspiration and looked with 
contempt on the emotional Hasidim. In the same way early Hasidism 
found in the sceptical and intellectual Haskalah an even greater oppo- 
nent than traditional Rabbinism. It was only in the wave of a new 
renaissance that these two movements flowed together, and it was in 
Buber that this synthesis reached both depth and completeness.^ 

Buber's early essays on Judaism set forth with marked clarity the 
concern for personal wholeness, for the reaUzation of truth in life, and 
for the joining of spirit and of basic Ufe energies which consistently 
appears in all of his later writings and determines, as much as any other 
element of his thought, his attitude toward evil. Almost every important 
statement which he makes in these early writings about the psychology 
of the Jewish people (their dynamism, their concern with relation, their 
inner division, their desire for realization and unity), he later translates 
into his general philosophy. 

The primary task of the Jewish movement, writes Buber, is the 
removal of the schism between thought and action and the re-estabhsh- 
ment of the unified personaUty who creates out of a single ardour of 
will. The truly creative person is not the intellectual, nor is he simply 
the artist. He is the strong and many-sided man in whom human 
happenings stream together in order to attain new developments in 
spirit and deed. The redeeming affirmation of a conflict is the essence 
of all creativity; in the creative person a deep inner division is brought 
to harmony. To eff"ect this harmony the creative person must have roots 
in a people through whom he is enriched and fortified. Today faith lies 
to life and does violence to its surging meanings. But for him who has 
lost his God the folk can be a first station on his new way. Today Satan 
tempts the creative man to lose himself in the inessential, to roam about 
1 Kohn, op. cit., pp. 13-15. 

Buber's Early Thought 

in the great confusion in which all human clarity and definiteness has 
ceased. The creative kingdom is there where form and formation thrive, 
and rootedness is a mighty helper to the individual to remain therein.^ 

Man experiences the fullness of his inner actuality and possibility as 
a Hving substance which pulls toward opposite poles; he experiences 
his inner way as a travelling from crossroad to crossroad. In no men 
was and is this basic duaUty so central and dominant as in the Jews, 
and in consequence nowhere has there been such a monstrous and 
wonderful paradox as the striving of the Jews for unity. For the ancient 
Jew objective being is unity and Satan a servant of God. It is man's 
subjective being which is cleaved, fallen, become inadequate and un- 
godhke. Redemption takes place through the creature's overcoming his 
own inner duaUty. The true meaning of the Galut, the exile of the Jews, 
is the faUing away from the ancient striving for unity into an unproduc- 
tive spirituality and intellectuahty divorced from Ufe. As a result Judaism 
split into two antagonistic sides: an official, uncreative side and an 
underground of Jewish heretics and mystics who carried forward in 
glowing inwardness the ancient striving for unity.^ 

The spiritual process of Judaism manifests itself in history as the 
striving after an ever more perfect realization of three interrelated 
ideas : the idea of unity, the idea of the deed, and the idea of the future. 
The Jew has always been more concerned with the whole than with 
the parts, with movement than with the senses, with time than with 
space. For this reason he has always considered the deed and not faith 
to be the decisive relation between man and God. These three ideas of 
unity, the deed, and the future are interrelated through Buber's em- 
phasis on a dynamic realization of the unconditional in the lives of 
men. Unity is not a static refusal to change, but unity in change. 
Action is not a rehance on external deeds and formal laws; it is the 
action of the total being. The future is not the end of time but the 
fullness of time, not the transcending of the world and mankind but 
fulfilment through the world and through mankind — it is a fulfilment 
of the unconditioned will of God in the conditioned lives of men.^ 

Sin is Uving divided and unfree, and it is the indolence and decision- 
lessness which makes this possible. Decisionlessness allows one to be 
conditioned and acted upon, for without decision one's power remains 
undirected. It is, therefore, just this failure to direct one's inner power 
which is the inmost essence of evil. In the soul which decides with its 

^ Die jiidische Bewegung. Gesammelte Aufsdtze und Ansprachen, Vol. I, 1900-14 
(BerUn: Judischer Verlag, 1916), pp. 12-15, 52, 66-73. 

2 Martin Buber, 'Das Judentum und die Menscheit,' Drei Reden iiber das 
Judentum (Frankfurt am Main: Riitten & Loening, 1911), pp. 35-56. The essays in 
Drei Reden are also included in a collected edition, Reden iiber das Judentum 
(Frankfurt am Main: Riitten & Loening, 1923; Berlin: Schocken Verlag, 1932). 

^ 'Die Emeuerung des Judentums,' Drei Reden, op. cit., pp. 75-96. 


Philosophy of Judaism 

whole being there is unity of power and direction — the undiminished 
force of the passionate impulse and the undiverted rectitude of intention. 
There is no impulse that is evil in itself; man makes it so when he 
yields to it instead of controlling it. The Mishnah interprets the com- 
mand *Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart' as loving 
God with both the *good' and the 'evil' impulses; this means loving 
Him with and through the act of decision, so that the ardour of passion 
is transformed and enters with its whole power into the single deed. 

Decision is the realization on earth of divine freedom and uncondi- 
tionality. Not the material of an action but the strength of the decision 
which brings it forth and the dedication of the intention which dwells 
in it determine whether it will flow off into the kingdom of things or 
press into the All-holy. The name of the act of decision in its last 
intensity is teshuvah, turning. Teshuvah means the caesura of a human 
life, the renewing revolution in the middle of the course of an existence. 
When in the middle of 'sin,' in decisionlessness, the will awakes to 
decision, the integument of ordinary life bursts and the primeval force 
breaks through and storms upward to heaven. When man has raised 
the conditioned in himself to the unconditioned, his action works on 
the fate of God. Only for him who lets things happen and cannot 
decide is God an unknown being who transcends the world. For him 
who chooses, God is the nearest and most trusted of things. Whether 
God is 'transcendent' or 'immanent' thus does not depend on God; it 
depends on men.^ 

Thus in Buber's early philosophy of Judaism good is identified with 
decision of the whole being, evil with the directionlessness that results 
from failure to decide. Every important step forward in the development 
of Buber's philosophy is reflected in his philosophy of Judaism. His 
existentiaUsm, his philosophy of community, his religious sociaUsm, 
and his dialogical philosophy all develop within his philosophy of 
Judaism as well as outside of it. There is, thus, an essential unity of 
what are in Buber's writings two separate streams of developing 

^ 'Der Geist des Orients und das Judentum' and 'Jiidische Religiositat,' Reden 
iiber das Judentum, op. cit., pp. 81-84, 103-1 13. These essays were originally published 
together with 'Der Mythos der Juden' in Vom Geist des Judentums (Leipzig: Kurt 
Wolff Verlag, 1916). 



AS far as Buber goes beyond transcendental idealism, he still 

/\ starts with Kant's teaching that we ourselves impose the order 
1. jL.oi space and time upon experience in order that we may orient 
ourselves in it. From Kant, Buber says, he gained an inkling *that being 
itself was beyond the reach alike of the finitude and the infinity of space 
and time, since it only appeared in space and time but did not itself 
enter into this appearance.' But the problem that Buber faced and that 
he inherited from the age when idealism had begun to break up was 
that of how man can reach 'reaUty' without returning to the naive, pre- 
Kantian 'objective' view of the universe.^ 

Buber found this reality through perceiving that in addition to man's 
orienting function he also possesses a 'realizing' function which brings 
him into real contact with God, with other men, and with nature. The 
thought of his teacher Wilhelm Dilthey provided an important bridge 
to this philosophy of 'realization,' for Dilthey based his thought on the 
radical difference between the way of knowing proper to the ''Geistes- 
wissenschaften' — the human studies such as philosophy, the social 
sciences, and psychology — and that proper to the ^Naturwissenschaften' 
— the natural sciences. In the former the knower cannot be merely a 
detached scientific observer but must also himself participate, for it is 
through his participation that he discovers both the typical and the 
unique in the aspects of human life that he is studying.^ 

Another important influence on Buber's philosophy of realization, as 
on his closely related philosophy of Judaism, was the thought of 
Friedrich Nietzsche. In one of his earliest articles Buber spoke of 
Nietzsche as 'the first pathfinder of the new culture,' 'the awakener and 
creator of new life-values and a new world-feeling.' Nietzsche's influence 

^ Between Man and Man, op. cit., 'What Is Man?' pp. 136-137; Kohn, op. cit., 
pp. 244-245 ; Hugo Bergmann, 'Begriff und Wirklichkeit. Ein Beitrag zur Philosophic 
Martin Bubers und J. G. Fichtes,' Der Jude, Beriin, X, No. 5 (March 1928), 'Sonder- 
heft zu Martin Bubers fiinfzigstem Geburtstag,' pp. 96-97. 

2 H. A. Hodges, Wilhelm Dilthey, An Introduction (New York: Oxford University 
Press, 1944), pp. viii-ix, 12-16. 


Philosophy of Realization 
may account in part for the dynamism of Ruber's philosophy, for its 
concern with creativity and greatness, for its emphasis on the concrete 
and actual as opposed to the ideal and abstract, for its idea of the 
fruitfulness of conflict, and for its emphasis on the value of life impulses 
and wholeness of being as opposed to detached intellectuaUty.^ 

Probably the strongest influence on Buber's concept of realization, 
however, was the existentialist philosophy of Soren Kierkegaard. In 
Kierkegaard's earlier works are found the germ of some of Buber's 
most important early and later ideas: the direct relation between the 
individual and God in which the individual addresses God as 'Thou,' 
the insecure and exposed state of every individual as an individual, the 
concept of the 'knight of faith' who cannot take shelter in the universal 
but must constantly risk all in the concrete uniqueness of each new 
situation, the necessity of becoming a true person before going out to 
relation, and the importance of realizing one's belief in one's Hfe. These 
similarities plus Buber's own treatment of Kierkegaard in his mature 
works make it clear that Kierkegaard is one of the most important 
single influences on Buber's thought.^ 

Buber has spoken of Kierkegaard and Dostoievsky together as the 
two men of the nineteenth century who will, in his opinion, 'remain' in 
the centuries to come. In Dostoievsky Buber found spiritual intensity, 
fervour, depth of insight, and an understanding of man's inner cleavage. 
He also found in him something of that dynamism and concern for 
realization in life that mark both Nietzsche and Kierkegaard. Finally, 
he found in him a dialectic very similar to his own intellectual processes 
and a world-affirming mystic religion of ecstasy, love, and brotherhood 
which bears a remarkable resemblance to his own thought. 

In Daniel (1913) we find Buber's concern for unity, realization, and 
creativity expressed for the first time entirely in its own terms and not 
as the interpretation of some particular thought or religious or cultural 
movement. Daniel is the first mature and comprehensive expression of 
Buber's philosophy, and it is at the same time the most creative and 
organically whole of his books to appear up till that time. 

'In each thing,' writes Buber in Daniel, 'there opens to you the door 

^ Martin Buber, 'Ein Wort iiber Nietzsche und die Lebenswerte,' Kunst und 
Leben, Berlin, December 1900; quoted in Kohn, op. cit., p. 36; Kohn, pp. 21-22, 
26-27, 227. 

2 Cf. S0ren Kierekgaard, Fear and Trembling, translated by Walter Lowrie 
(Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1941), pp. 55-56, 118-120, 189-190. For 
Buber's treatment of Kierkegaard see Martin Buber, / and Thou, translated by 
Ronald Gregor Smith, 2nd edition, with Postscript by the Author added (New 
York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1958), pp. 106-109; Hasidism and Modern Man, 
op. cit., Book VI, 'Love of God and Love of Neighbor,' pp. 227-233; Between 
Man and Man, op. cit., 'The Question to the Single One,' pp. 48-82, and 'What 
Is Man?' pp. 161-163, 171-181; and Eclipse of God, op. cit., 'On the Suspension 
of the Ethical,' translated by Maurice Friedman, pp. 149-156. 


Buber's Early Thought 

of the One if you bring with you the magic that unlocks it : the perfection 
of your direction.' But direction is only complete when it is fulfilled 
with power: the power to experience the whole event. Power alone 
gives one only the fullness, direction alone only the meaning of the 
experience — power and direction together allow one to penetrate into 
its substance, into oneness itself. 

The vortex of happenings sweeps over one like a sandstorm which 
threatens to destroy one. Which type of soul one has is decided by 
how one withstands it. One type of person thinks only of protection, 
of the inherited arts of self-defence; he educates his senses to perceive 
in place of the vortex an ordered world conceived within the frame- 
work of basic principles of experience. He no longer meets the world 
but only his own cause-and-purpose oriented conceptions of it. The 
other type of person lets stand, to be sure, the ordered world — the world 
of utility in which he can alone live with other men ; he accepts it and 
learns its laws. But deep within him grows and endures the readiness 
to go out to meet the naked chaos armed with nothing but the magic 
of his inborn direction. 

Direction is that primeval tension of a human soul which moves it to 
choose and to realize this and no other out of the infinity of possibilities. 
In direction the soul does not order reality but opens and delivers itself 
to it, and not with the senses and understanding alone but with its whole 
being. Direction is thus a finding of one's own way and a realization 
of one's inmost being that gives one the strength to withstand in open- 
ness the confused stream of outer and inner happenings. But direction 
is neither individuality, determinism, nor arbitrary self-will. It is the 
realization of what was already potentially the one true direction of 
one's personality. Nor does this self-realization exclude fellowship with 
others. Rather it makes possible true community, from being to being.^ 

There is a twofold relation of men to their experience : the orienting 
and the realizing. That which man experiences, doing and suffering, 
creating and enjoying, he can order in the continuity of experience for 
the sake of his goals or he can comprehend in its power and splendour 
for its own sake. If man orders it, he works with it according to its forms 
and laws. And this ordering is not to be despised. How should we not 
honour the unsurveyable edifice of science and its wonderful develop- 
ment? But everywhere where orienting knowledge rules by itself, it 
takes place at the cost of the experience of reality. 

Realization refers to that enhanced meaning of life which springs 
from moments of intensified existence and intensified perception. This 
is what it means to realize: to relate experience to nothing else but 
itself. And here is the place where the strength of the human spirit 

^ Martin Buber, Daniel, Gesprdche von der Verwirklichung (Leipzig : Insel Verlag, 
1913), 'Von der Richtung,' pp. 13, 16-22. 


Philosophy of Realization 

awakens and concentrates and becomes creative. Whereas in the system 
of experiencing one has only to arrange and order, and living with only 
one part of one's being can come to terms with the all; in realizing one 
must bring forth the totality of one's being in order to withstand a 
single thing or event. But because power thus gives itself to the thing 
or event, it creates reality in it and through it. For that alone is reality 
which is so experienced. 

There is no purely realizing or purely orienting type of man. As in 
the life of the community attained reaUty must ever again be placed in 
the continuity of experience, so in the life of the individual hours of 
orienting follow hours of realization and must so follow. But the 
creative man is he who has the most effective power of realization; he 
is the man in whom the realizing force of the soul has so concentrated 
into work that it creates reality for all. The creative man possesses the 
unbroken power of realization, for in his creativity mature orientation 
is also included as a dependent and serving function. 

Realized experience creates the essential form of existence ; only here 
can what we call 'things' and what we call T' find their reality. For all 
experience is a dream of being bound together ; orientation divides and 
sunders it, realization accomplishes and proclaims it. Nothing individual 
is real in itself, for it is only preparation : all reality is fulfilled binding. 
In each man there lives, utilized or suppressed, the power to become 
unified and to enter into reaUty. 

Men of realization are few in our time, which makes up for them 
with the doers and performers — those who act without being, who give 
what they do not have, who conquer where they have not fought. The 
undue predominance of orientation has settled in the blood of our time 
and has dissolved its reality. Men have objects and know how to attain 
them. They have a milieu, and they have information about their milieu. 
They also have spirituality of many kinds, and they talk a great deal. 
Yet all of this is outside of reality. Men live and do not realize what 
they live, for their experience is ordered without being comprehended. 
Their limitations are so closely bound to them that they call them 
elegant names — culture, religion, progress, tradition, or intellectuality; 
*ah, a thousand masks has the unreal!' ^ 

All living with the whole being and with unconstrained force means 
danger ; there is no thing, relation, or event in the world that does not 
reveal an abyss when it is known, and all thinking threatens to shatter 
the stability of the thinker. He who lives his fife in genuine, realizing 
knowledge must perpetually begin anew, perpetually risk all ; and there- 
fore his truth is not a having but a becoming. The orienting man wants 
security and security once for all : he wants to know his way about, and 
he wants a solid general truth that will not overturn him. But the man 
1 Ibid., 'Von der Wirklichkeit,' pp. 29-47. 

Buber's Early Thought 

who forgets himself in order to use his power of realization loves 
the underived truth which he who ventures creates out of the depths. 
He does not want to know where he is at; for he is not always at the 
same place, but is ever at the new, at the uttermost, at God. God cannot 
realize Himself in men otherwise than as the innermost presence of an 
experience, and the God of this experience is therefore not the same, 
but always the new, the extreme. Orientation which acts as the all- 
embracing is thoroughly godless; godless also is the theologian who 
places his god in causality, a helping formula of orientation, and the 
spiritualist who knows his way about in the *true world* and sketches 
its topography. 

The realizing man is unprotected in the world, but he is not aban- 
doned; for there is nothing that can lead him astray. He does not 
possess the world, yet stands in its love; for he realizes all being in its 
reality. He has that before which all security appears vain and empty: 
direction and meaning. When he comes to a crossroads, he makes his 
choice with immediate decision as out of a deep command. When he 
acts, he does his deed and no other, and he decides with his being. The 
deed is not limited for him, as it is for the orienting man, to causality 
and evolution ; he feels himself free and acts as a free man. The orienting 
man places all happening in formulas, rules, and connections; the 
realizing man relates each event to nothing but its own intrinsic value. 
He receives what befalls him as a message; he does what is necessary 
as a commission and a demonstration. He who descends into the trans- 
forming abyss can create unity out of his and out of all duality. Here 
no 'once for all' is of value; for this is the endless task. This is the 
kingdom of God : the kingdom of *holy insecurity.' ^ 

A.11 wisdom of the ages has the duality of the world as its subject. 
However it names the two forces that it makes known — spirit and 
matter, form and material, being and becoming, reason and will, or 
positive and negative element — it has in mind the overcoming of their 
tension, the union of their duality. The longing for unity is the glowing 
ground of the soul ; but the man who is true feels that he would degrade 
this longing if he surrendered something of the fullness of his experience 
to please it. He feels that he can only become obedient to it in truth if 
he strives to fulfil it out of his completeness and preserves his experi- 
enced duality undiminished in the force of its distance. 

For this reason the faithful man rejects the Absolute of the Vedantic 
non-dualist as a life-denying unity found apart from the main highroad 
on which the faithful man must travel. He rejects in like manner the 

^ Martin Buber, ''Daniel. Gesprdche von der Verwirklichung (Leipzig : Insel Verlag, 
1913), 'Von dem Sinn,' pp. 55-82. Today,' writes Buber, 'I would not any more 
describe the kingdom so extravagantly! {Daniel is still too much a book of the 
"easy word").' From a letter from Professor Buber to the author of August 8, 1954. 


Philosophy of Realization 
abstract unity of European idealist philosophy and the empty unity of 
the Taoist who indifferentiates all opposition in himself. True unity is 
the unity of the world as it is, a unity which excludes nothing and 
destroys nothing but transforms the stubborn material of life into one- 
ness through the realizing action of men. It is the unity of man and man, 
of man and the world, of Ufe and death; the unity which is realized by 
the man who in his own life has direction and meaning. It is the unity 
which includes all evil, even the kingdom of Satan; for it can accept 
nothing less than the whole. But just because this is a reaUzed unity, 
it is one that is never completely attained, one which ever again comes 
forth as purer and sharper duality. This new duality, in turn, provides 
the material for an ever higher and more nearly perfect oneness. Each 
new act of inner unification enables the individual to take unto himself 
ever greater tensions of world-polarity and bring them to unity. ^ 

Hereafter, however Buber may change his philosophy, he never for- 
sakes his belief in a redemption which accepts all the evil of real hfe 
and transforms it into the good. Between the extremes of pantheism 
and an absolute divorced from the world lies the duality of a God who 
is real in Himself yet must be realized in the world through man's life. 
In this middle sphere the mystic's demand for a life lived in terms of 
the highest reaUty and the existentialist's demand for self-realization 
and genuine existence may meet in spirit. In Daniel this meeting has 
resulted in a new unity — the philosophy of realization. 

1 Ibid., 'Von der Einheit,' pp. 139-152. Erich Przywara, SJ., identifies the three 
wrong ways in Daniel as the Hindu, the European, and the Chinese, respectively in 
'Judentum und Christentum,' Stimme der Zeit, CX (1925-26), 87. 



CLOSELY related to Buber's philosophy of realization, and like 
it an important element in the development of his I-Thou philo- 
sophy, is his dialectic of reUgion and culture. Influenced by 
Nietzsche, Wilhelm Dilthey, and Georg Simmel,^ this dialectic combines 
a theory of religious symbolism with a philosophy of history. Culture 
and religiousness replace one another in the history of peoples, writes 
Buber. Culture is the stabilization of the life impulse and life forms 
between two religious upheavals. Religion is the renewal of the life 
impulse and hfe forms between two cultural developments. In the 
reUgious upheaval the powers become free. In culture they bind them- 
selves again in new Hfe forms, bind themselves ever faster and tighter, 
until they lie caught, dull and lifeless, in the forms. Then there comes 
again a moment when life revolts against the law that has ceased to 
contain the spirit which created it. In this moment the form is broken 
and life is summoned to new creation out of the chaos. But this shatter- 
ing is no simple turning-point. It is much more a fearful crisis that is 
often decisive not for renewal but for death. And yet there is no other 
way not only to a new religiousness but also to a new culture. This 
upheaval can at first find no other expression than the religious, for 
before man creates new life forms, he creates a new relation to life itself, 
a new meaning of life. But this renewal must be accompanied by the 
inner strength to withstand the crisis. Power of the storming spirit to 
stir up the conflagration, security of the constructing soul to hold itself 
in the purifying fire: these are the forces which guide a people to re- 
juvenated life.^ 

This dialectic recognizes a conservative and retaining influence as a 
necessary accompaniment of the dynamic and creative, if stable life is 

^ Cf. Nietzsche's contrast between the Dionysian and the Apollonian in The 
Birth of Tragedy and The Will to Power, Dilthey 's contrast between Geisteswissen- 
schaften and Naturwissenschaften, and Simmel's contrast between 'religiousness' and 
'religion' in Die Religion, Vol. II of Die Gesellschaft. Sammlung sozialpsychologischer 
Monographien, edited by Martin Buber (Frankfurt am Main: Riitten & Loening, 
1906), pp. 7-17. Dilthey and Simmel were both Buber's teachers. 

2 Diejudische Bewegung, Vol. I, op. cit., 'Zwiefache Zukunft' (1912), pp. 216-220. 


Dialectic of Religion and Culture 
to result. Yet it also recognizes the process by which the forms encroach 
on the Ufe that created them until that life must destroy the forms in 
order to continue its existence. Evil in this scheme is not a separate 
principle but an undue predominance of one force over the other, 
especially an imbalance so great that it can no longer be corrected 
through a religious renewal. 

This dialectic is further clarified by Buber's distinction between 
'religion' and 'religiousness.' 'Religiousness' is the astonished and 
worshipful feeUng of man. that above his conditionaUty there stands an 
Unconditioned whose desire is to form a Uving community with him 
and whose will he may realize in the world of men. 'ReUgion' is the 
sum of customs and teachings in which the religiousness of a certain 
epoch of a people has been expressed and formed, crystallized in 
precepts and dogma, and handed down to all future generations as in- 
alterably binding. Religion is true only as long as it is fruitful, and it is 
fruitful only as long as religiousness is able to fill precept and dogma 
with new meaning and inwardly transform them to meet the need of 
each new generation. Religiousness means activity — an elementary 
setting oneself in relation to the Absolute; rehgion means passivity — 
taking upon oneself inherited laws.^ 

Dogmas and precepts are only the changing products of the attempts 
of the human spirit to fix the working of the Absolute which it 
experiences in a symbolic order of the knowable and the do-able. The 
primary reality is the action of the Absolute on the human spirit. Man 
experiences the Absolute as the great presence that is over against him, 
as Thou' in itself. He grasps the ineffable through the creation of 
symbols, in signs and speech which reveal God to men for this age. 
But in the course of ages these symbols are outgrown and new ones 
bloom in their place until no symbol performs what is needful and life 
itself in the wonder of its togetherness becomes a symbol. 

Religious truth is vital rather than conceptual. It can only be inti- 
mated in words and can first be satisfactorily proclaimed only by being 
confirmed in the life of a man, in the life of a community. The word 
of the teaching loses its religious character as soon as it is cut loose 
from its connection with the life of the founder and his disciples and 
recast into an independently knowable and thoroughly impersonal 
principle. Each religiously creative age is only a stage of religious truth, 
for, in distinction from philosophic truth, it is no tenet but a way, no 
thesis but a process. It is a powerful process of spiritual creation, a 
creative answer to the Absolute.^ 

Theophany happens to man, and he has his part in it as God has 

1 Reden uber das Judentum, op. cit., 'Jiidische Religiositat' (1916), pp. 103-105. 

2 Ibid., 'Cheruth. Ein Rede uber Jugend und Religion' (1919), pp. 202-209, 


Buber^s Early Thought 

His. Forms and ideas result from it; but what is revealed in it is not 
form or idea but God. Religious reality means this, for it is the un- 
diminished relation to God Himself. Man does not possess God; he 
meets Him. 

That through which all religion lives, religious reality, goes in 
advance of the morphology of the age and exercises a decisive effect 
upon it ; it endures in the essence of the religion which is morpho- 
logically determined by culture and its phases, so that this religion 
stands in a double influence, a cultural, hmited one from without 
and an original and unlimited one from within. This inner reaUty, 
from the moment that it is incorporated in religion, no longer 
works directly, but through religion it affects all spheres of life. 
Thus theophany begets history.^ 

Religion is thus influenced from the side of religious experience on 
the one hand and culture on the other. The Absolute enters into the 
forms of reUgion and through religion influences culture and history. 
From this point of view history cannot be understood as a purely 
immanent development, for it is partially a product of an encounter 
with a primary reality which transcends culture and gives rise to it. 
Each of the cultures of history originated in an original relation event, 
and each must return to such an event before it can find renewal. 
Similarly, reUgious forms and symbols arise out of elemental religious 
experience and must be renewed and transformed by such experience 
if they are to retain their living reality. 

^ Reden iiber das Judentum, op. cit.y 'Vorwort' (1923), pp. ix-xii (my translation). 



TRUE community, writes Ruber, can only be founded on changed 
relations between men, and these changed relations can only 
follow the inner change and preparation of the men who lead, 
work, and sacrifice for the community. Each man has an infinite sphere 
of responsibility, responsibility before the infinite. But there are men 
for whom this infinite responsibility exists in a specially active form. 
These are not the rulers and statesmen who determine the external 
destiny of great communities and who, in order to be effective, turn 
from the individual, enormously threatened Hves to the general multi- 
tude that appears to them unseeing. The really responsible men are 
rather those who can withstand the thousandfold questioning glance of 
individual lives, who give true answer to the trembling mouths that 
time after time demand from them decision.^ 

The principle obstacle to the erection of true community is that 
dualism which splits fife into two independent spheres — one of the truth 
of the spirit and the other of the reality of life. True human life is life 
in the face of God, and God is not a Kantian idea but an elementarily 
present substance — the mystery of immediacy before which only the 
pious man can stand. God is in all things, but he is realized only when 
individual beings open to one another, communicate with one another, 
and help one another — only where immediacy establishes itself between 
beings. There in between, in the apparently empty space, the eternal 
substance manifests itself. The true place of realization is the com- 
munity, and true community is that in which the godly is realized 
between men. 

The prophets, says Buber, demanded a direct godly form of com- 
munity in contrast to the godless and spiritless state. True to Jewish 
thought, they did not simply deny the earthly state but insisted that it 

^ Die Jiidische Bewegung, op. cit.. Vol. II, 1916-20 (1921). 'Kulturarbeit* 
(1917), p. 94; Hasidism and Modern Man, 'My Way to Hasidism,' p. 67 ff. On 
Buber's relation to the Christian religious socialist movement, of. Ephraim 
Fischoff's Introduction to Buber's Paths in Utopia (Boston: Beacon Press, 1958). 


Buber^s Early Thought 

must be penetrated by the spirit of true community. It would have been 
unthinkable to them to have made a compromise with conditions as 
they were, but it would have been equally unthinkable for them to have 
fled from those conditions into a sphere of inner life. Never did they 
decide between the kingdom of God and the kingdom of man. The 
kingdom of God was to them nothing other than the kingdom of man 
as it shall become. When they despaired of present fulfilment, they 
projected the image of their truth into Messianism. Yet here also they 
meant no opposition to this human world in which we live, but its 
purification and completion. 

Jesus, like the prophets of Israel, wanted to fulfil rather than do away 
with human society. By the kingdom of God He meant no other-worldly 
consolation, no vague heavenly blessedness, and also no spiritual or 
cultic league or church. What He meant was the perfected Hving together 
of men, the true community in which God shall have direct rule. Jesus 
wished to build out of Judaism the temple of true community before 
the sight of which the walls of the power state must fall to pieces. 

But not so did the coming generations understand Him. In the place 
of the Jewish knowledge of the single world, fallen through confusion 
but capable of redemption through the struggling human will, came the 
postulation of a fundamental and unbridgeable duality of human will 
and God's grace. The will is now regarded as unconditionally bad and 
elevation through its power is impossible. Not will in all its contrariness 
and all its possibility is the way to God, but faith and waiting for the 
contact of grace. Evil is no longer the 'shell' which must be broken 
through. It is rather the primal force which stands over against the 
good as the great adversary. The state is no longer the consoHdation 
of a will to community that has gone astray and therefore is penetrable 
and redeemable by right will. It is either, as for Augustine, the eternally 
damned kingdom from which the chosen separate themselves or, as for 
Thomas, the first step and preparation for the true community, which 
is a spiritual one. The true community is no longer to be realized in 
the perfect life of men with one another but in the church. It is the 
community of spirit and grace from which the world and nature are 
fundamentally separated.^ 

This atmosphere of the dualism of truth and reality, idea and fact, 
morality and politics is that, writes Buber, in which our present age 
lives. Corresponding to it is the egoistic nationalism which perverts the 
goal of community by making it an end itself. It is not power itself 
which is evil, Buber states, in disagreement with the historian Jacob 
Burckhardt. Power is intrinsically guiltless and is the precondition for 

^ Martin Buber, Der heilige Weg (Frankfurt am Main: Riitten & Loening, 1919), 
pp. 11-44. Later reprinted in Reden iiber das Judentum, op. cit., without the 
introduction, pp. 9-11. 


Community and Religious Socialism 

the actions of man. It is the will to power, the greed for more power 
than others, which is destructive. 

A genuine person too likes to affirm himself in the face of the 
world, but in doing so he also affirms the power with which the 
world confronts him. This requires constant demarcation of one's 
own right from the right of others, and such demarcation cannot 
be made according to rules valid once and for all. Only the secret 
of hourly acting with a continually repeated sense of responsibility 
holds the rules for such demarcations. This appUes both to the 
attitude of the individual toward his own life, and to the nation 
he is a member of. 

Not renunciation of power but responsibility in the exercise of power 
prevents it from becoming evil. This responsibility is lacking in modern 
nations, for they are constantly in danger of slipping into that power 
hysteria which disintegrates the abiUty to draw lines of demarcation. 
Only in the recognition of an obligation and a task that is more than 
merely national can the criterion be found which governs the drawing 
of the distinction between legitimate and arbitrary nationalism.^ 

The mature expression of Buber's concern with realizing the divine 
through true community is the religious socialism which he developed 
in the period immediately after the First World War. This development 
was decisively influenced by the socialism of Buber's friend Gustav 
Landauer, the social anarchism of Michael Kropotkin, and the distinc- 
tion between 'community' and 'association' in Ferdinand Tonnies's 
work, Gemeinschaft und Gesellschaft (1887). Community ('Gemein- 
schaft') Buber defines as an organic unity which has grown out of 
common possessions, work, morals, or belief. Association ('Gesell- 
schaft') he defines as a mechanical association of isolated self-seeking in- 
dividuals. It is an ordered division of society into self-seeking individuals 
held together by force, compromise, convention, and public opinion. 

Modern western culture, states Buber, is on the way from 'Gemein- 
schaft' to 'Gesellschaft.' The mechanical type of social living has re- 
placed the organic. Marxism, the dominant form of modern socialism, 
desires to overcome the atomization of present-day life and sees itself 
as the bearer and executor of an evolutionary process. Yet it is nothing 
other than the process of development from community to association 
that it is completing. For what today is still left of an autonomy of 
organic community of wills must, under the working of this tendency, 
be absorbed into the power of the state. The state will indeed guarantee 
justice through laws, but the power of the state will be raised to an all- 
controlling dogma which will make impossible any spontaneous 

^ Israel and the World, op. cit., 'Nationalism' (1921), pp. 216-225. 


Buher^s Early Thought 

righteousness. Community which once existed universally, and which 
today exists almost alone in personal life and unnoticed fellowships, 
will not be able to withstand the all-embracing power of the new 
socialist state. 

In opposition to that socialism which promotes and completes the 
evolution to *Gesellschaft* stands another which wills to overcome it. 
The first movement desires to gain possession of the state and set new 
institutions in the place of those existing, expecting thereby to transform 
human relations in their essence. The second knows that the erection 
of new institutions can only have a genuinely liberating effect when it 
is accompanied by a transformation of the actual life between man and 
man. This life between man and man does not take place in the abstrac- 
tion of the state but rather there where a reality of spatial, functional, 
emotional, or spiritual togetherness exists — in the village and city com- 
munity, in the workers' fellowship, in comradeship, in religious union. 

In this moment of western culture a great longing for community 
possesses the souls of men. This longing can only be satisfied by the 
autonomy of the communal cells which together make up true common- 
wealth. But this autonomy will never be accorded by the present state, 
nor by the socialist state which will not renounce its rigid centralization 
to bring about its own decentralization, nor abandon its mechanical 
form in favour of an organic one. Hence the renewal of communal cells 
and the joining of these cells into larger communities and common- 
wealths must depend on the will of individuals and groups to establish 
a communal economy. Men must recognize that true participation in 
community demands no less power of soul than participation in a 
parliament or state politics and is the only thing that can make the 
latter effective and legitimate. 

The decisive problem of our time, however, is that men do not live 
in their private lives what they seek to bring to pass in public. Wholly 
ineff'ective and illusory is the will for social reality of circles of intel- 
lectuals who fight for the transformation of human relations yet remain 
as indirect and unreal as ever in their personal life with men. The 
authenticity of the political position of a man is tested and formed in 
his natural 'unpolitical' sphere. Here is the germinating ground of all 
genuine communal-effecting force. No lived community is lost, and out 
of no other element than lived community can the community of the 
human race be built. ^ 

^Martin Buber, Gemeinschaft, Vol. II of Worte an die Zeit (Munich: 
Dreilanderverlag, 1919), pp. 7-26. On Ruber's relation to Landauer see Martin 
Buber, 'Landauer und die Revolution,' Masken, Halbmonatschrift des Duessel- 
dorfer Schauspielhauses, XIV (1918-19), No. 18/19, pp. 282-286; Hinweise, 
op. cit., 'Erinnerung an einen Tod' (1929), pp. 252-258, and Pointing the Way, 
op. cit., 'Recollection of a Death,' pp. 115-120; Martin Buber, Paths in Utopia, 
trans, by R. F. C. Hull (London: Routledge, 1949), chap, vi, pp. 46-57; and Kohn, 


Community and Religious Socialism 
Buber's religious socialism is built on closeness to the land, on the 
meaningfulness of work and of mutual help, on the leadership of those 
men who can take responsibihty for individual lives, on community 
built out of direct relationship between men and between groups of 
men, on the spirit of an eternal yet ever-changing truth, and above all 
on the reign of God.^ In this reUgious sociaUsm Buber's call for the 
realization of God on earth and his concern for the relations between 
man and man have merged into one mature whole — the message of true 
community. This community starts not with facts of economics and 
history but with the spirit working silently in the depths. Even in 1919 
Buber saw the true nature of the socialist power-state which, in the 
name of compulsory justice and equahty, makes impossible spontaneous 
community and genuine relationship between man and man. True to 
the 'narrow ridge,' he refused the clamouring either-or of the modem 
world — the demand that one accept the centralized socialist state 
because of the defects of capitaUsm or the capitaUst society because of 
the defects of socialism. 

Buber's sociaUsm of this period is religious but it is not 'Utopian,' 
for it does not base its claims and its hopes on any easily workable 
scheme or any facile trust in human nature. Rather it demands the 
thing that is hardest of all, that men live their lives with one another 
with the same genuineness and integrity as they desire to estabUsh in 
the pattern of the total community. And it demands it in the face of 
'history' and of 'determinism' and by the strength of the power of the 
spirit to come to man in his deepest need. It does not expect community 
to be established simply through the grace of God or simply through 
the will of man, but through the will of man which in extremis becomes 
one with the will of God. 

The socialist power-state is not, for Buber, evil in itself any more 
than the capitalist state. Both are evil in so far as they prevent the 
springing-up of the good, the socialist state in that it makes impossible 
even those remnants of true community which exist in the capitalist 
state, the capitalist state in that the relations between man and man are 
indirect and perverted, based on desire for exploitation rather than true 
togetherness. The remedy for these evils is not the immediate estabUsh- 
ment of some super-society but simply the strengthening of the forces 
of good through the will for genuine relationship and true community. 
The surging tides of inexorable world history are slowly pushed back 
and reversed by the invisible forces working in the souls of men and in 
the relations between man and man. 

op. cit., pp. 29-31. On his relation to Kropotkin see Paths in Utopia, chap, v, pp. 
38-45. On his relation to Tonnies, see Kohn, op. cit., pp. 195-197, 348. 

^ Der heilige Weg, op. cit., pp. 85-87 (my translation). See also Martin Buber, 
Worte an die Zeit, vol. I, Grundsdtze (Miinchen: Dreilanderverlag, 1919), pp. 5-11. 



IN addition to Hasidism, Kierkegaard, and Dilthey, the most impor- 
tant influences on the development of Buber's I-Thou philosophy 
were Ludwig Feuerbach and Georg Simmel. Buber states in *What 
Is Man?' that Feuerbach gave him a decisive impetus in his youth. Un- 
hke Kant, writes Buber, Feuerbach postulates the whole man and not 
cognition as the beginning of philosophizing, and by man he *does not 
mean man as an individual, but man with man — the connection of / 
and Thou: 

The individual man for himself,' runs his manifesto, *does not 
have man's being in himself, either as a moral being or a thinking 
being. Man's being is contained only in community, in the unity 
of man with man — a unity which rests, however, only on the 
reality of the diff'erence between I and Thou.' ^ 

Simmel, too, is concerned with relation — the relation between man 
and God, between man and man, and between man and nature. He 
finds in the concept of the divine the substantial and ideal expression 
of the relations between men, and he draws an analogy between the 
relations of man and God and those of man and man which comes 
quite close to Buber's own I-Thou relation. To *believe' in God, 
according to Simmel, means not just a rational belief in His existence 
but a definite inner relation to Him, a surrender of feeling and direction 
of life. In the same way to *believe' in a man means to have a relation 
of trust to the whole man, a relation which takes precedence over any 
proof concerning his particular qualities. On the other hand, there is a 
one-sidedness and absence of mutuality in Simmel's idea of relation 
which sets it at some distance from that of Buber. The important thing 
to Simmel is that the individual call up unused potentialities in himself.^ 
This emphasis on the psychological and emotional effects of relation is 

^ Between Man and Man, op. cit., p. 136 f. Cf. Feuerbach's Grundsdtze der 
Philosophie der Zukunft (1843), # 61, 33, 34, 42, 64-66. 

2 Simmel, Die Religion, op. cit., pp. 22 f., 31-5, 39 f., 67 f., 75. 


Threshold of Dialogue 

one that is utterly foreign to Buber, for it tends to remove reality away 
from the relation back into the individual himself. 

(Particularly illustrative of the gradual development of Buber's dia- 
logical thought is his progressive reinterpretation of the feehng of unity 
with certain objects of nature. In Buber's essay on Jacob Boehme (1900) 
this feeling of unity is used to illustrate the idea of man as the micro- 
cosm, or little world which contains the whole. In *Ecstasy and 
Confession' (1909) it is used to illustrate the oneness in ecstasy of the 
*r and the world. In Daniel (1913) it is used to illustrate the unity which 
is created and realized in the world. And in Ich und Du (1922) it is 
used to illustrate the I-Thou relation, an event which takes place 
between two beings which none the less remain separate. Two of the 
specific experiences which Buber mentions in the essay on Boehme — 
that of kinship with a tree and that of looking into the eyes of a dumb 
animal — are later used in / and Thou as an example not of unity but of 
the I-Thou relation. Yet the emotional content of the experiences as 
described in the two works is almost identical ! ^ 

In Ereignisse und Begegnungen ('Events and Meetings') (1917) we find 
the link between Buber's philosophy of realization and his philosophy 
of dialogue. What the learned combination of ideas denies, writes Buber 
in this work, the humble and faithful beholding of any thing confirms. 
Each thing and being has a twofold nature : the passive, appropriable, 
comparable, and dissectible and the active, unappropriable, incompar- 
able, and irreducible. He who truly experiences a thing that leaps to 
meet him of itself has known therein the world. The contact between 
the inexpressible circle of things and the experiencing powers of our 
senses is more and other than a vibration of the ether and the nervous 
system — it is the incarnate spirit. And the reality of the experienced 
world is so much the more powerful, the more powerfully we experience 
it, realize it. There is a common reality which sufiices for the comparison 
and ordering of things. But another is the great reaUty which we can 
only make into our world if we melt the shell of passivity with our ardour 
and strength until the active, bestowing side of things leaps up to meet 
us and embrace us. The world cannot be known otherwise than through 
things and not otherwise than with the active sense-spirit of the loving 

The loving man is one who takes up each thing unrelated to other 
things. For this hour no other lives than this thing which is alone loved 
in the world, filling it out and indistinguishably coinciding with it. 
Where the rationalist draws out the general quahties of a thing and 
places them in categories, the loving man sees what is unique in a 
thing, its self. This is the active side which the circle of world compre- 

' 'Ueber Jakob Bohme,' op. cit., p. 252 f.; / and Thou, op. cit., pp. 7 f., 
96 f. 


Buher's Early Thought 

hensibility misses. In the beloved thing whose self he reaHzes, the loving 
man confirms the mysterious countenance of the all.^ 

The *loving man' of Events and Meetings is similar to the realizing 
man of Daniel But now the twofold nature of life no longer applies to 
man alone but is inherent in things themselves. The emphasis, more- 
over, is not on the unity of things, not even the realized unity of Daniel, 
but on the meeting between man and what is over against him, a 
meeting which never becomes an identity. Because this is an encounter 
and not a perfect unity and because the encounter takes place not 
between man and passive objects but between man and the active self 
of things, man is limited in his ability to form and shape the world and 
hence to overcome the evil in himself and in the world. But he is also 
greatly aided, for the active self of things responds to his loving 
experiencing of them so that the force of the world joins his own force 
to bring his deed to effectiveness. 

Buber says in this book that he is not a mystic, and this statement is 
supported by the emphasis on the life of the senses in many of its 
essays.^ According to Buber's own later testimony, a personal experience 
played a decisive part in this conversion from the 'mystical' to the 
everyday. Once after a morning of 'religious enthusiasm' he was visited 
by a young man. Though friendly and attentive, he was not present in 
spirit. Later he learned that the young man had come to him for a 
decision. As we are told that he died not long after, we may imagine 
that the decision was life or death. The elder man answered the questions 
that the young man asked, but not the ones he did not ask. He did not 
meet his despair by 'a presence by means of which we are told that 
nevertheless there is meaning.' This was, says Buber, an event of 

Since then I have given up the 'reUgious' which is nothing but 
the exception, extraction, exaltation, ecstasy; or it has given me up. 
I possess nothing but the everyday out of which I am never taken. 
The mystery is no longer disclosed, it has escaped or it has made 
its dwelling here where everything happens as it happens. I know 
no fulness but each mortal hour's fulness of claim and respon- 

^Martin Buber, Ereignisse iind Begegnungen (Leipzig: Insel Verlag, 1917), 
'Mit einem Monisten,' pp. 28-35. Reprinted in Hinweise, pp. 36-43, and in 
Pointing the Way under the title 'With a Monist,' pp. 25-30. 

- Cf. 'Der Altar,' 'Bruder Leib,' 'Der Damon im Traum,' and 'An das Gleich- 
zeitige.' These essays are all reprinted in Hinweise, pp. 18-35 and 118-120, and 
in Pointing the Way under the titles 'The Altar,' 'Brother Body,' 'The Demon in 
the Dream,' and 'To the Contemporary,' pp. 11-25, 59-60. 

"" Between Man and Man, 'Dialogue,' p. 13 f. 'It was in the late autumn of 
1914, and he died in the war,' wrote Buber to the author on August 8, 1954. 


Threshold of Dialogue 
Simple immediacy and togetherness, writes Ruber, is the most effec- 
tive form of action. More powerful and more holy than all writing is 
the presence of a man who is simply and directly there. Productivity is 
only true existence when it takes root in the immediacy of a lived life. 
It is the ruhng beUef of our time that production is the criterion of 
human worth. But illegitimate production, production without im- 
mediacy, is no criterion, for it is not reality but delusion. The over- 
valuation of productivity is so great in our age that even truly 
productive men give up the roots of a genuinely Uved Ufe and wear 
themselves out turning all experience to value as public communication. 
The productivity that is already present in the perception of the artist 
and the poet is not a will to create but an abiUty to create. It is the 
formative element of experience which also accompanies all that befalls 
the non-artistic man and is given an issue by him as often as he lifts 
an image out of the stream of perception and inserts it in his memory 
as something single, limited, and meaningful in itself. But if in per- 
ceiving a man already cherishes the intention of utilizing, then he dis- 
quiets the experience, deforms its growth, and destroys its meaning. 
He who meets men with a double glance, an open one which invites 
fellowship and a secret one which conceals the conscious aim of the 
observer — he cannot be dehvered from his sickness by any talent that 
he brings to his work, for he has poisoned the springs of his life.^ This 

'^ Ereignisse und Begegnungen, pp. 66-76. Reprinted in Himveisse, pp. 36-43, 
and in Pointing the Way under the title 'Productivity and Existence,' pp. 5-10. 
Although it is only with Ereignisse und Begegnungen that Buber's thought becomes 
really dialogical, there are a number of hints of dialogue and explicit uses of the 
'I-Thou' terminology in his earlier writing. In his essay on Boehme in 1901 Buber 
writes that Boehme's dialectic of the reciprocal conditioning of things finds its 
completion in Ludwig Feuerbach's sentence: 'Man with man — the unity of I and 
Thou— is God.' (Ueber Jakob Bohme,' p. 252 f.) In 'Lesser Ury' (1903) Buber 
writes: 'The most personal lies in the relation to the other. Join a being to all beings 
and you liu-e out of it its truest individuality.' {Juedische Kuenstler, ed. by Martin 
Buber (Berlin: Juedischer Verlag, 1903), p. 45 f.) In 1905 Buber uses the term 'I 
and Thou' in a discussion of the drama and of the tension of the isolated individual 
(Buber, 'Die Duse in Florenz,' Die Schaubuhne, Vol. I, No. 15 (December 14, 1905)), 
and in the introduction to Die Legende des Baalschem (1908) he speaks of legend as 
'the myth of I and Thou, the inspired and the inspirer; the finite who enters into the 
infinite, and the infinite who has need of the finite.' Again in 'Ekstase und Bekenntnis' 
(1909) he speaks explicitly of the T that creates a 'Thou.' In his later essays of this 
early period the I-Thou terminology becomes more frequent, especially, as we have 
seen, in his treatment of community and of theophany. For Buber's own discussion 
of the development of his dialogical thinking and the circumstances under which he 
wrote / and Thou (including his statement that he did not read Rosenzweig and 
Ebner's books till later because of a two-year period of 'spiritual askesis' in which 
he could do no work on Hasidism nor read any philosophy), see his 'Nachwort' to 
Martin Buber, Die Schriften iiber das Dialogische Prinzip (Heidelberg: Verlag 
Lambert Schneider, 1954). For a far more extensive treatment of the influences on 
Buber's thought and the development of his early thought than is possible here see 


Bubefs Early Thought 

double-minded need to exploit life instead of live it makes impossible 
true life within oneself. It also makes impossible true communication 
between man and man, for only that man who is simply and directly 
present can directly communicate with others. 

Already in 1916 Buber made his first draft of / and Thou, but it was 
in 1919 that he *first attained decisive clarity.' In the light of his new 
understanding he undertakes to explain those parts of his earlier writings 
which now appear to him inexact or conducive to misunderstanding. 
Religious reality, he writes, is not what takes place in 'inwardness,' as 
is generally thought today, but what takes place between man and God 
in the reality of relation. The statement that whether God is transcen- 
dent or immanent does not depend on God but on man is consequently 
inexact. It depends on the relation between God and man, which, when 
it is actual, is reciprocal action. Also unsatisfactory is the statement 
that God arises out of the striving for unity. *God' cannot arise, only 
the image of God, the idea of God, and this also cannot arise out of 
the human but only out of the meeting of the divine and the human. 
The form in which men recognize God and the conception which men 
have of Him cannot, to be sure, come into being without the co- 
operative participation of the creativity of a human person, but what 
is at work there is no myth-projecting fantasy but man's way of going 
forth to the meeting. The meeting with God does not rise out of 
'experience' and therefore out of detached subjectivity, but out of Ufe. 
It does not arise out of religious experience, which has to do with a 
division of the psychic, but out of religious Ufe, that is, out of the whole 
life of men and of peoples in real intercourse with God and the world. 

The concept of the realization of God is not inexact or improper in 
itself, writes Buber, but it is improperly appUed when one speaks of 
making God out of a truth into a reality. It can thus mislead one to the 
opinion that God is an *idea' which only through men becomes 'reality' 
and further to the hopelessly perverted conception that God is not, but 
rather becomes — in man or in mankind. This opinion is perverted not 
because there is no divine becoming in the immanence, but because only 
through the primal certainty of divine being can we come into contact 
with the mysterious meaning of divine becoming, the self-division of 
God in creation and His participation in the destiny of its freedom. 

By the same token the summons of our human existence cannot be 
to overcome the division of being and reality in order to let the divine 
take seed, grow, and ripen in the perceptible world. We cannot hold 
with the concept of a reality which is relative and far from God. This 

the present author's unpublished doctoral dissertation, 'Martin Buber: Mystic, 
Existentialist, Social Prophet,' Part I — Introduction, and Part II — The Development 
of Buber's Thought, The University of Chicago, June 1950. University of Chicago 
Library, Microfilm T 809. 


Threshold of Dialogue 
concept comes from a division between the 'thinking' and the *feeling' 
relation of the 'subject' and makes out of this psychological and relative 
duaUty of functions an absolute duality of spheres. If we comprehend 
ourselves in the God-world fullness in which we live, then we recognize 
that *to realize God' means to make the world ready to be a place of 
God's reahty. It means, in other, holy words, to make reality one.^ 

Henceforth the emphasis in Ruber's thought is not, as heretofore, on 
the process of realization but on the meeting of God and man and the 
theophany that illuminates human life and history as the result of that 
meeting. Only in this development, which has here reached mature 
expression, has Buber gone decisively beyond the subjectivistic and 
time-centred vitalism of Nietzsche and Bergson. Only through this final 
step has he reached the understanding that, though the external form 
changes, the essence of theophany — the meeting between man and God 
— remains the same. 'God wills to ripen in men,' Buber has written. 
Yet it is not God Himself who changes and ripens, but the depth and 
fullness of man's encounter with God and the ways in which man 
expresses this meeting and makes it meaningful for his daily life. If God 
were entirely process, man could not know where that process might 
lead. There would be no basis then for Buber's belief that the contra- 
diction and ugUness of life can be redeemed through the life of man in 
the world. 

Buber's shift in emphasis to the two-directional meeting of God and 
man leaves no further room for the concept of an impersonal godhead 
coming to birth in the soul. God is now, to Buber, the Eternal Thou 
whom we meet outside as well as within the soul and whom we can 
never know as impersonal. This does not mean that Buber's new I-Thou 
philosophy is irreconcilable with the metaphysics of the Kabbalah and 
Hasidism, but only with his earUer interpretations of that metaphysics. 
Man's power to reunite God with His Shekinah, Buber writes in a 
mature work, has its truth in the inwardness of the here and now but in 
no way means a division of God, a unification which takes place in God, 
or any diminution of the fullness of His transcendence. 'What turgid and 
presumptuous talk that is about the "God who becomes" ; but we know 
unshakably in our hearts that there is a becoming of the God that is.' ^ 

Buber's new position thus does not exclude a becoming of God in 
the world but only the concept of God as pure becoming or as ideal 
which is not yet reaUty. If creation were not divine, if God were not 
immanent as well as transcendent, then we would have a gnostic 
division between God and the world which would leave the world for 
ever cut off from God and for ever unredeemable. 

^ Reden, op. cit., pp. xi-xix. 

- Hasidism and Modern Man, op. cit., Book V, The Baal-Shem-Tor's Instruc- 
tion in Intercourse with God,' pp. 215-218; / and Thou, p. 82. 




THE first part of / and Thou consists of an extended definition of 
man's two primary attitudes and relations: 'I-Thou' and 'I-It.' 
These two attitudes are very similar to the 'realization' and 
'orientation' of Daniel. The I of man comes into being in the act of 
speaking one or the other of these primary words. But the two I's are 
not the same: 'The primary word I-Thou can only be spoken with the 
whole being. The primary word I-It can never be spoken with the whole 
being.' ^ 

The real determinant of the primary word in which a man takes his 
stand is not the object which is over against him but the way in which 
he relates himself to that object. I-Thou is the primary word of relation. 
It is characterized by mutuality, directness, presentness, intensity, and 
ineffabihty. Although it is only within this relation that personahty and 
the personal really exist, the Thou of I-Thou is not limited to men but 
may include animals, trees, objects of nature, and God. I-It is the 
primary word of experiencing and using. It takes place within a man 
and not between him and the world. Hence it is entirely subjective and 
lacking in mutuality. Whether in knowing, feeUng, or acting it is the 
typical subject-object relationship. It is always mediate and indirect 
and hence is comprehensible and orderable, significant only in connec- 
tion and not itself. The It of I-It may equally well be a he, a she, an 
animal, a thing, a spirit, or even God, without a change in the primary 
word. Thus I-Thou and I-It cut across the lines of our ordinary distinc- 
tions to focus our attention not upon individual objects and their causal 
connections but upon the relations between things, the dazwischen 
('there in-between'). Experiencing is I-It whether it is the experiencing 
of an object or of a man, whether it is 'inner' or 'outer,' 'open' or 
'secret.' One's life of interior feeling is in no way elevated above one's 
life with the external world, nor is the occultist's knowledge of secret 
mysteries anything else but the inclusion of the unseen in the world of 
It. 'O secrecy without a secret! O accumulation of information! It, 
always It!' ^ 
1 / and Thou, op. cit., p. 3. ' Ibid., p. 5. 



The // is the eternal chrysalis, the Thou the eternal butterfly.* What 
at one moment was the Thou of an I-Thou relation can become the 
next moment an It and indeed must continually do so. The It may again 
become a Thou, but it will not be able to remain one, and it need not 
become a Thou at all. Man can Uve continuously and securely in the 
world of It. If he only Uves in this world, however, he is not a man, for 
'all real living is meeting.' This meeting with the Thou of man and of 
nature is also a meeting with God. Tn each process of becoming that is 
present to us . . ., in each Thou we address the eternal Thou,' *the Thou 
in which the parallel Unes of relations meet.' This does not mean that 
one substitutes an abstract concept of 'God in man' for the concrete 
man before one. On the contrary, it is only when one meets a man as 
Thou that one really remains concrete. When one faces a human being 
as one's Thou, he is no longer an object among objects, a nature which 
can be experienced and described, or a specific point of space and time. 
'But with no neighbour, and whole in himself, he is Thou and fills the 
heavens. This does not mean that nothing exists except himself. But all 
else lives in his light.' ^ 

In the meeting with the Thou, man is no longer subject to causaUty 
and fate, for both of these are handmaidens of the ordered world of 
continuity and take their meaning from it. It does not even matter if 
the person to whom the Thou is said is the It for other I's or is himself 
unaware of the relation. The I-Thou relation interpenetrates the world 
of It without being determined by it, for meeting is not in space and time 
but space and time in meeting. 'Only when every means has collapsed 
does the meeting come about.' Though I-Thou continually becomes 
I-It, it exists during the moment of meeting as direct and directly 
present. 'No deception penetrates here; here is the cradle of the Real 
Life.' 2 

The present of the I-Thou relation is not the abstract point between 
past and future that indicates something that has just happened but 
'the real, filled present.' Like the 'eternal now' of the mystic, it is the 
present of intensity and wholeness, but it is not found within the soul. 
It exists only in so far as meeting and relation exist. In contrast, the I 
of I-It experiences a moment, but his moment has no present content 
since it is filled with experiencing and using. His actions only have 
meaning for him when they are completed, for they are always means 
and never ends in themselves. Similarly, he knows objects only when 
they are installed in the ordered world of the past, for he has no interest 
in their uniqueness but only in their relations to other things through 
which he can use them.^ 

The experiencing of It is planned and purposeful. Yet the man who 

^ / and Thou, op. cit., pp. 17, 11, 6, 8. 2 /^^-^^ pp 12, 9. 

3 Ibid., p. 12 f. 


All Real Living is Meeting 
experiences It does not go out of himself to do so, and the It does not 
respond but passively allows itself to be experienced. The Thou, on the 
other hand, cannot be sought, for it meets one through grace. Yet the 
man who knows Thou must go out to meet the Thou and step into 
direct relation with it, and the Thou responds to the meeting. Man can 
only enter relation with the whole being; yet it is through the relation, 
through the speaking of Thou, that concentration and fusion into the 
whole being takes place. *As I become /, I say Thou.' This relation 
means suffering and action in one, suffering because one must be chosen 
as well as choose and because in order to act with the whole being one 
must suspend all partial actions.^ 

Ideas are not outside or above man's twofold attitude of I-Thou and 
I-It, nor can they take the place of Thou. *Ideas are no more enthroned 
above our heads than resident in them.' They are between man and what 
is over against him. The real boundary for the actual man cuts right 
across the world of ideas as well.' Though many men retire into a world 
of ideas as a refuge and repose from the experience and use of the 
world of things, the mankind which they there imagine is no less an 
It and 'has nothing in common with a living mankind where Thou may 
truly be spoken.' 'The noblest fiction is a fetish, the loftiest fictitious 
sentiment is depraved.' ^ 

Similarly, the act of relation is not emotion or feeling, which remains 
within the I. Pure relation is love between the I and the Thou. Feelings 
accompany love, but they do not constitute it. 'Feelings dwell in man; 
but man dwells in his love.' And the Thou dwells in love as well as the 
I, for love 'does not cling to the / in such a way as to have the Thou 
only for its "content," its object.' To the man who loves, people are 
set free from their qualities as good or evil, wise or foolish and confront 
him in their singleness as Thou. Hence love is not the enjoyment of a 
wonderful emotion, not even the ecstasy of a Tristan and Isolde, but 
the 'responsibility of an / for a Thou.' ^ 

Hate sees only a part of a being. If a man sees a whole being and still 
hates, he is no longer in relation but in I-It; for to say Thou to a man 
means to aflarm his being. 'Yet the man who straightforwardly hates is 
nearer to relation than the man without hate and love.' * Such a man 
really has in mind the person whom he hates as distinct from the man 
whose hatred and love does not mean its object but is void of real 
intention.^ The world of the primitive man, even if it was a hell of 
anguish and cruelty, was preferable to a world without relation because 
it was real. 'Rather force exercised on being that is really Uved than 
shadowy solicitude for faceless numbers! From the former a way leads 

1 Ibid., p. 11. ' Ibid., p. 13 f. 

3 Ibid., p. 14 f. * Ibid., p. 16. 

^ I am indebted to Professor Buber for this interpretation. 


to God, from the latter only one to nothingness.' ^ Thus though a full 
I-Thou relationship can only mean love, it is better to hate men than 
to treat them entirely as objects to be known or made use of. 

I-It is not to be regarded as simply evil, however. It is only the 
reUability of its ordered and surveyable world which sustains man in 
life. One cannot meet others in it, but only through it can one make 
oneself 'understood' with others. The I-Thou relation, similarly, is not 
an unqualified good. In its lack of measure, continuity, and order it 
threatens to be destructive of life. The moments of the Thou are 'strange 
lyric and dramatic episodes, seductive and magical, but tearing us away 
to dangerous extremes, loosening the well-tried context, leaving more 
questions than satisfaction behind them, shattering security.' Yet the 
moments of the Thou do what I-It can never do. Though not linked 
up with one another, each is a sign of the world order and an assurance 
of solidarity with the world. The Thou comes to bring man out to 
presentness and reality. If it does not meet one, it vanishes and returns 
in another form. It is the 'soul of the soul' which stirs within the depths. 
Yet to remove it into the soul is to annihilate it. You cannot make your- 
self understood with others concerning it. 'But it teaches you to meet 
others, and to hold your ground when you meet them. ... It does not 
help to sustain you in life, it only helps you to glimpse eternity.' ^ 

The child must find for himself his own world, says Buber, through 
seeing, hearing, touching, and shaping it. This world is not there ready- 
made. It rises to meet his senses, thus revealing the essential nature of 
creation as form. In this process the effort to establish relation (with a 
Teddy-bear, a tea-pot, it does not matter) comes first and is followed 
by the actual relation, a saying of Thou without words. Only later is 
the relation split apart into the I and the thing. Hence 'in the beginning 
is relation,' Uhe inborn Thou' which is reahzed by the child in the Hved 
relations with what meets it. The fact that he can reaUze what is over 
against him as Thou is based on the a priori of relation, that is, the 
potentiaUty of relation which exists between him and the world. 
Through this meeting with the Thou he gradually becomes I. Finally, 
however, he loses his relation with the Thou and perceives it as a 
separated object, as the It of an I which has itself shrunk to the 
dimensions of a natural object.^ 

Thus in the silent or spoken dialogue between the I and the Thou 
both personality and knowledge come into being. Unlike the subject- 
object knowledge of the I-It relation, the knowing of the I-Thou relation 
takes place neither in the 'subjective' nor the 'objective,' the emotional 
nor the rational, but in the 'between' — the reciprocal relationship of 
whole and active beings. Similarly, personaUty is neither simply an 
1 / and Thou, op. cit., p. 24. 2 /^/^^ p 33 f^ 

» Ibid., pp. 25-28. 


All Real Living is Meeting 

individual matter nor simply a social product, but a function of relation- 
ship. Though we are born individuals,' in the sense of being different 
from others, we are not born persons. Our personalities are called into 
being by those who enter into relation with us. This does not mean 
either that a person is merely a cell in a social organism. To become a 
person means to become someone who responds to what happens from 
a centre of inwardness. 

To be fully real the I-Thou relation must be mutual. This mutuality 
does not mean simple unity or identity, nor is it any form of empathy. 
Though I-Thou is the word of relation and togetherness, each of the 
members of the relation really remains himself, and that means really 
different from the other. Though the Thou is not an It, it is also not 
'another I.' He who treats a person as 'another I' does not really see 
that person but only a projected image of himself. Such a relation, 
despite the warmest 'personal' feeling, is really I-It. 

In the German original the I-It relation is the Ich-Es Verhdltnis, the 
I-Thou relation the Ich-Du Beziehung. This difference between Ver- 
hdltnis and Beziehung, though not carried over in the EngUsh transla- 
tion, is important in indicating the two stages of Ruber's insight into 
man — first, that he is to be understood, in general, in terms of his 
relationships rather than taken in himself; second, that he is to be 
understood specifically in terms of that direct, mutual relation that 
makes him human.^ 

^Cf. Philip Wheelwright, 'Ruber's Philosophical Anthropology,' in Maurice 
Friedman and Paul Arthur Schilpp, editors, The Philosophy of Martin Buber, 
volume of The Library of Living Philosophers (La Salle, 111.: Open Court Publ. 
Co., 1963). 



OUR culture has, more than any other, abdicated before the world 
of It. This abdication makes impossible a life in the spirit since 
spirit is a response of man to his Thou. The evil which results 
takes the form of individual life in which institutions and feelings are 
separate provinces and of community life in which the state and 
economy are cut off from the spirit, the will to enter relation. In both 
cases I-It is not evil in itself but only when it is allowed to have mastery 
and to shut out all relation. Neither universal causality nor destiny 
prevent a man from being free if he is able to alternate between I-It and 
I-Thou. But without the ability to enter relation and cursed with the 
arbitrary self-will and belief in fate that particularly mark modern man, 
the individual and the community become sick, and the I of the true 
person is replaced by the empty I of individuality. 

In the history of both the individual and the human race, writes 
Buber, the proper alternation between I-It and I-Thou is disturbed by 
a progressive augmentation of the world of It. Each culture tends to 
take over the world of It from its predecessors or contemporaries. 
Hence in general the world of objects is more extensive in successive 
cultures. As a result, there is a progressive development from generation 
to generation of the individual's abihty to use and experience. For the 
most part this development is an obstacle to life Hved in the spirit, for 
it comes about in the main 'through the decrease of man's power to 
enter into relation.' ^ 

Spirit is not in the I but between I and Thou. To respond to the Thou 
man must enter into the relation with his whole being, but 'the stronger 
the response the more strongly does it bind up the Thou and banish it 
to be an object.' Only silence before the Thou leaves it free and un- 
manifest. But man's greatness lies in the response which binds Thou 
into the world of It, for it is through this response that knowledge, 
work, image, and symbol are produced. All of these Thou's which have 
been changed into It's have it in their nature to change back again into 

1 / and Thou, op. cit., p. 37 ff. 

Tke World of IT 
presentness. But this fulfilment of their nature is thwarted by the man 
who has come to terms with the world of It. Instead of freeing, he 
suppresses; instead of looking, he observes; instead of accepting, he 
turns to account.^ 

Buber illustrates this statement from the realms of knowledge, art, 
and action. In knowledge the thing which is seen is exclusively present 
and exists in itself. Only afterwards is it related to other events or 
expressed as a general law, i.e. turned into an It so it can enter the 
structure of knowledge. *He who frees it from that, and looks on it 
again in the present moment, fulfils the nature of the act of knowledge 
to be real and eff"ective between men.' But it can be left as It, experienced, 
used, and appropriated to 'find one's bearings' in the world.^ 

'So too in art; form is disclosed to the artist as he looks at what is 
over against him. He banishes it to be a "structure".' The nature of this 
'structure' is to be freed for a timeless moment by the meeting with the 
man who lifts the ban and clasps the form. But a man may simply 
experience art: see it as qualities, analyse how it is made, and place it 
in the scheme of things. Scientific and aesthetic understanding are not 
necessary in themselves. They are necessary in order that man 'may do 
his work with precision and plunge it in the truth of relation, which is 
above the understanding and gathers it up in itself.' ^ 

Finally, in pure effective action without arbitrary self-will man 
responds to the Thou with his life, and this life is teaching. It 'may have 
fulfilled the law or broken it; both are continually necessary, that 
spirit may not die on earth.' The life of such a person teaches those who 
follow how life is to be lived in the spirit, face to face with the Thou. 
But they may decUne the meeting and instead pin the life down with 
information as an It, an object among objects.* 

The man who has come to terms with It has divided his life into two 
separated provinces : one of institutions — It — and one of feelings — I. 

Institutions are 'outside,' where all sorts of aims are pursued, 
where a man works, negotiates, bears influence, undertakes, con- 
curs, organizes, conducts business, officiates, preaches. . . . 
Feelings are 'within,' where life is lived and man recovers from 
institutions. Here the spectnmi of the emotions dances before the 
interested glance.^ 

Neither institutions nor feelings know man or have access to real life. 
Institutions know only the specimen; feelings know only the 'object.' 
That institutions yield no pubUc Ufe is reaUzed by many with increasing 
distress and is the starting-point of the seeking need of the age. But few 

1 Ibid., p. 39 f. « Ibid., p. 40 f. * Ibid., p. 41 f. 

* Ibid., p. 42. * Ibid., p. 43. 



realize that feelings yield no personal life, for feelings seem to be the 
most personal life of all. Modern man has learned to be wholly con- 
cerned with his own feelings, and even despair at their unreality will 
not instruct him in a better way — *for despair is also an interesting 
feeling.* ^ 

The solution to this lack of real public and personal life is not freedom 
of feeling, writes Buber. True community arises through people taking 
their stand in living mutual relation with a living Centre and only then 
through being in living mutual relation with each other. Community 
cannot be set up as a goal and directly attained, but can only result 
from a group of people being united around a common goal, their 
relation to the Eternal Thou. Similarly, true marriage arises through 
each partner's revealing the Thou to the other. The erotic literature of 
the age which is so exclusively concerned with one person's enjoyment 
of another and the pseudo-psychoanalytical thinking which looks for 
the solution to the problem of marriage through simply freeing *inhibi- 
tions' both ignore the vital importance of the Thou which must be 
received in true presentness if human life, either public or personal, is 
to exist.^ 

In communal life as in the individual it is not I-It but its mastery and 
predominance which are evil. Communal life cannot dispense with the 
world of It any more than man himself. 

Man's will to profit and to be powerful have their natural and 
proper effect so long as they are linked with, and upheld by, his 
will to enter into relation. There is no evil impulse till the impulse 
has been separated from the being; the impulse which is bound up 
with, and defined by, the being is the living stuff of communal life, 
that which is detached is its disintegration. Economics, the abode 
of the will to profit, and State, the abode of the will to be powerful, 
share in life as long as they share in the spirit.^ 

Man's will to profit and to be powerful are impulses which can be given 
direction by I-Thou in the life of the individual and of the community. 
I-Thou is not only a direction, it is the direction; for it is itself the 
ultimate meaning and intrinsic value, an end not reached by any means, 
but directly present. I-Thou is the foundation underlying I-It, the spark 
of life within it, the spirit hovering over it. 

What matters is not that the organization of the state be freer and 
economics more equitable, though these things are desirable, but that 
the spirit which says Thou remain by life and reahty. To parcel out 
community life into separate realms one of which is spiritual life *would 
mean to give up once and for all to tyranny the provinces that are sunk 

^ / and Thou, op. cit., p. 44 f. ^ Ibid., p. 45 f. » Ibid., p. 48. 


The World of IT 

in the world of //, and to rob the spirit completely of reality. For the 
spirit is never independently effective in life in itself alone, but in rela- 
tion to the world.' ^ Thus what is good is not pure spirit, any more than 
what is evil is matter. Good is the interpenetration of spirit into life, 
and evil is spirit separated from life, life untransformed by spirit. 

' Causality has an unlimited reign in the world of It' and is *of funda- 
mental importance for the scientific ordering of nature.' But causality 
does not weigh heavily on man, who can continually leave the world of 
It for the world of relation. In relation I and Thou freely confront each 
other in mutual effect, unconnected with causality. Thus it is in relation 
that true decision takes place. 

Only he who knows relation and knows about the presence of 
the Thou is capable of decision. He who decides is free, for he has 
approached the Face. . . . Two alternatives are set side by side — the 
other, the vain idea and the one, the charge laid on me. But now 
realization begins in me. For it is not decision to do the one and 
leave the other a lifeless mass, deposited layer upon layer as dross 
in my soul. But he alone who directs the whole strength of the 
alternative into the doing of the charge, who lets the abundant 
passion of what is rejected invade the growth to reality of what is 
chosen — he alone who 'serves God with the evil impulse' makes 
decision, decides the event. ... If there were a devil it would not be 
one who decided against God, but one who, in eternity, came to 
no decision.^ 

Direction alone is not enough. To be fulfilled it must be accompanied 
by all of one's power. If power of impulse is regarded as an evil to be 
suppressed, then it will accumulate in the soul and turn negative and 
will frustrate the very fulfilment that direction and the conscious self 
desire. But if the passion of the temptation is brought into the service 
of responsibility, then what otherwise appears a mere duty or an 
external action is transfigured and made radiant by the intention which 
enters into it. 

To use the evil impulse to serve the good is to redeem evil, to bring 
it into the sanctuary of the good. It is this which is done by the man 
whose life swings between Thou and It, and it is this which reveals to 
him the meaning and character of life. 'There, on the threshold, the 
response, the spirit, is kindled ever anew within him; here, in an unholy 
and needy country, this spark is to be proved.' ^ Thus man's very 
freedom to do evil enables him to redeem evil. What is more, it enables 
him to serve the good not as a cog in a machine but as a free and 
creative being. Man's creativity is the energy which is given to him to 

1 Ibid., p. 50. 2 /^^.^ p. 51 f. 3 jijij^^ p. 53. 



form and to direct, and the real product of this creativity is not a novel 
or a work of art, but a life lived in relation, a life in which It is 
increasingly interpenetrated by Thou. 

We make freedom real to ourselves, says Buber, by forgetting all 
that is caused and making decision out of the depths. When we do this, 
destiny confronts us as the counterpart of our freedom. It is no longer 
our boundary but our fulfilment. *In times of healthy life trust streams 
from men of the spirit to all people.* But in times of sickness the world 
of It overpowers the man who has come to terms with it, and causality 
becomes 'an oppressive, stifling fate.' Every great culture rests on an 
original response, and it is this response, renewed by succeeding genera- 
tions, which creates for man a special way of regarding the cosmos, 
which enables him to feel at home in the world. But when this living and 
continually renewed relational event is no longer the centre of a culture, 
then that culture hardens into a world of It. Men become laden with the 
burden of *fate that does not know spirit' until the desire for salvation 
is satisfied by a new event of meeting. The history of cultures is not a 
meaningless cycle but a spiral ascent to the point *where there is no 
advance or retreat, but only utterly new reversal — the break-through.' ^ 

Thus there is a limit to the evil which man can bring on himself, a 
limit to the overrunning mastery of the world of It. Smith's translation 
of Buber's *Umkehr' as ^reversal' does not adequately convey the idea 
of the Hebrew teshuvah, man's wholehearted turning to God, and it is 
in this sense that Buber has used 'Umkehr' in earlier works ^ and 
continues to use it in later ones. It is not merely that man arrives at the 
last pitch of desperation, the place where he can no longer help himself. 
When he arrives there he himself performs the one great act which he 
can perform, the act which calls forth God's grace and establishes new 
relation. At the very point when man has completely given over his life 
to the domination of the lifeless mechanism of world process, he can 
go forth with his whole being to encounter the Thou. 

The one thing that can prevent this turning, says Buber, is the belief 
in fate. It is this belief which threatens to engulf our modern world as 
a result of the quasi-biological and quasi-historical thought of the age. 
Survival of the fittest, the law of instincts and habits, social process, 
dialectical materialism, cultural cycles — all work together to form a 
more tenacious and oppressive belief in fate than has ever before 
existed, a fate which leaves man no possibility of liberation but only 
rebellious or submissive slavery. Even the modern concepts of teleo- 
logical development and organic growth are at base possession by 
process — *the abdication of man before the exuberant world of //.' 

^ / and Thou, op. cit., p. 56. Except here, Smith changes 'reversal' to 'turning" 
in the 2nd edition. -'Die Erneuerung des Judentums,' 'Zwiefache Zukunft." 
'Der Geist des Orients und das Judentum,' and Gemeinschaft. 


The World of IT 
All consideration in terms of process is merely an ordering of 
pure 'having become,' of the separated world-event, of objectivity 
as though it were history; the presence of the Thou, the becoming 
out of solid connexion, is inaccessible to it.^ 

The free man is he who wills without arbitrary self-will. He knows 
he must go out to meet his destiny with his whole being, and he 
sacrifices *his puny, unfree will, that is controlled by things and instincts, 
to his grand will, which quits defined for destined being.' 

Then he intervenes no more, but at the same time he does not let 
things merely happen. He listens to what is emerging from himself, 
to the course of being in the world ; not in order to be supported 
by it, but in order to bring it to reality as it desires, in its need of 
him, to be brought. . . . The free man has no purpose here and 
means there, which he fetches for his purpose : he has only the one 
thing, his repeated decision to approach his destiny.^ 

In the 'free man' of / and Thou we meet once again the 'non-action' of 
the Tao and the kavanah, or consecrated action, of the Hasid. 

In contrast to the free man stands the self-willed man who, according 
to Buber, neither believes nor meets. He does not know connection but 
only the outside world and his desire to use it. He has no destiny, for 
he is defined by things and instincts which he fulfils with arbitrary self- 
will. Incapable of sacrifice, he continually intervenes to 'let things 
happen.' His world is 'a mediated world cluttered with purposes.' His 
life never attains to a meaning, for it is composed of means which are 
without significance in themselves. Only I-Thou gives meaning to the 
world of It, for I-Thou is an end which is not reached in time but is 
there from the start, originating and carrying-through. The free man's 
will and the attainment of his goal need not be united by a means, for 
in I-Thou the means and the end are one. 

When Buber speaks of the free man as free of causation, process, and 
defined being, he does not mean that the free man acts from within 
himself without connection with what has come to him from the out- 
side. On the contrary, it is only the free man who really acts in response 
to concrete external events. It is only he who sees what is new and 
unique in each situation, whereas the unfree man sees only its re- 
semblance to other things. But what comes to the free man from without 
is only the precondition for his action, it does not determine its nature. 
This is just as true of those social and psychological conditioning 
influences which he has internalized in the past as of immediate external 
events. To the former as to the latter, he responds freely from the 
depths as a whole and conscious person. The unfree person, on the 

1 / and Thou, op. cit., p. 57 f. ^ /^/^,^ p. 59 f. 



other hand, is so defined by public opinion, social status, or his neurosis 
that he does not 'respond' spontaneously and openly to what meets 
him but only 'reacts.' He does not see others as real persons, unique 
and of value in themselves, but in terms of their status, their usefulness, 
or their similarity to other individuals with whom he has had relation- 
ships in the past. 

'Individuality,' the I of I-It, becomes conscious of itself as the subject 
of experiencing and using. It makes its appearance through being 
differentiated from other individualities and is conscious of itself as a 
particular kind of being. It is concerned with its My — my kind, my 
race, my creation, my genius. It has no reality because it has no sharing 
and because it appropriates unto itself. 'Person,' on the other hand, the 
I of I-Thou, makes its appearance by entering into relation with other 
persons. Through relation the person shares in a reality which neither 
belongs to him nor merely lies outside him, a reality which cannot be 
appropriated but only shared. The more direct his contact with the 
Thou, the fuller his sharing; the fuller his sharing, the more real his I.^ 
But the I that steps out of the relational event into consciousness of 
separation retains reality as a seed within it. 

This is the province of subjectivity in which the / is aware with a 
single awareness of its solidarity of connexion and of its separation. 
. . . Here, too, is the place where the desire is formed and heightened 
for ever higher, more unconditioned relation, for the full sharing 
in being. In subjectivity the spiritual substance of the person 

No man is pure person and no man pure individuality; no man is 
entirely free and none, except a psychotic, entirely unfree. But some 
men are so defined by person that they may be called persons, and 
some are so defined by individuality that they may be called individuals. 
'True history is decided in the field between these two poles.' ^ 

When it is not expressed outwardly in relation, the inborn Thou 
strikes inward. Then man confronts what is over against him within 
himself, and not as relation or presence but as self-contradiction, an 
inner Doppelgdnger . The man who has surrendered to the world of 
outer and inner division 'directs the best part of his spirituality to 
averting or at least to veihng his thoughts,' for thinking would only 
lead him to a realization of his own inner emptiness. Through losing 
the subjective self in the objective whole or through absorbing the 
objective whole into the subjective self, he tries to escape the confronta- 
tion with the Thou.* He hopes to make the world so ordered and 

1 / and Thou, op, cit., p. 62 f. 2 Ibid., p. 63. 

5 Ibid., p. 65. " Ibid., pp. 61, 65-72. 


The World of IT 

comprehensible that there is no longer a possibility of the dread meeting 
which he wishes to avoid. And because he dares not meet the Thou in 
the casual moments of his daily life, he builds for himself a cataclysmic 
reversal, a way of dread and despair. It is through this way at last that 
he must go to confront the eternal Thou. 



THE inborn Thou is expressed and realized in each relation, writes 
Buber, but it is consummated only in the direct relation with the 
Eternal Thou, 'the Thou that by its nature cannot become //.' 
This Thou is met by every man who addresses God by whatever name 
and even by that man who does not believe in God yet addresses *the 
Thou of his life, as a Thou that cannot be limited by another.' *A11 God's 
names are hallowed, for in them He is not merely spoken about, but 
also spoken to.' Our speaking to God, our meeting Him is not mere 
waiting and openness for the advent of grace. Man must go forth to 
the meeting with God, for here too the relation means being chosen and 
choosing, suffering and action in one. Hence we must be concerned not 
about God's side — grace — but about our side — will. *Grace concerns 
us in so far as we go out to it and persist in its presence; but it is not 
our object.' ^ 

To go out to the meeting with the Eternal Thou, a man must have 
become a whole being, one who does not intervene in the world and 
one in whom no separate and partial action stirs. To go out to this 
meeting he need not lay aside the world of sense as though it were 
illusory or go beyond sense-experience. Nor need he have recourse to 
a world of ideas and values. Ideas and values cannot become presentness 
for us, and every experience, even the most spiritual, can yield us only 
an It. Only the barrier of separation must be destroyed, and this cannot 
be done through any formula, precept, or spiritual exercise. *The one 
thing that matters' is *full acceptance of the present.' Of course, the 
destruction of separateness and the acceptance of the present pre- 
suppose that the more separated a man has become, the more difficult 
will be the venture and the more elemental the turning. But this does 
not mean giving up the I, as mystical writings usually suppose, for the 
I is essential to this as to every relation. What must be given up is the 
self-asserting instinct *that makes a man flee to the possessing of things 
before the unreliable, perilous world of relation.' ^ 

1 / and Thou, op. cit., p. 75 f. * /^/^^ p^ 75 q 


The Eternal Thou 
*He who enters the absolute relation is concerned with nothing 
isolated any more.' He sees all things in the Thou and thus establishes 
the world on its true basis. God cannot be sought, He can only be met. 
Of course He is Barth's 'wholly Other' and Otto's Mysterium 
Tremendum, but He is also the wholly Same, 'nearer to me than my /.' 
He cannot be spatially located in the transcendence beyond things or 
the inmianence within things and then sought and found. 

If you explore the life of things and of conditioned being you 
come to the unfathomable, if you deny the life of things and of 
conditioned being you stand before nothingness, if you hallow 
this life you meet the living God.^ 

It is foolish to seek God, *for there is nothing in which He could not 
be found.' It is hopeless to turn aside from the course of one's life, for 
with *all the wisdom of solitude and all the power of concentrated 
being,' a man would still miss God. Rather one must go one's way and 
simply wish that it might be the way. The meeting with God is 'a 
finding without seeking, a discovering of the primal, of origin.' The man 
who thus waits and finds is Hke the perfected man of the Tao : *He is 
composed before all things and makes contact with them which helps 
them,' and when he has found he does not turn from things but meets 
them in the one event. Thus the finding 'is not the end, but only the 
eternal middle, of the way.' Like the Tao, God cannot be inferred in 
anything, but unlike the Tao, God can be met and addressed. 'God is 
the Being that is directly, most nearly, and lastingly over against us, 
that may properly only be addressed, not expressed.' ^ 

To make the relation to God into a feeling is to relativize and 
psychologize it. True relation is a coincidentia oppositorum, an absolute 
which gathers up the poles of feeling into itself. Though one has at 
times felt oneself simply dependent on God, one has also in this depen- 
dence felt oneself really free. And in one's freedom one acts not only 
as a creature but as co-creator with God, able through one's actions 
and through one's life to alter the fate of the world and even, according 
to the Kabbalah, to reunite God with His exiled Shekinah. If God did 
not need man, if man were simply dependent and nothing else, there 
would be no meaning to man's life or to the world. 'The world is not 
divine sport, it is divine destiny.' 

You know always in your heart that you need God more than 
everything; but do you not know too that God needs you — in the 
fullness of His eternity needs you? . . . You need God, in order to 
be — and God needs you, for the very meaning of your life.^ 

1 Ibid., p. 78 f. ' Ibid., p. 80 f. 

3 Ibid., p. 82. 



This primal reality of relation is not contradicted by the experience 
of the mystics if that experience is rightly understood. There are two 
kinds of happening in which duality is no longer experienced. The first 
is the soul's becoming a unity. This takes place within man and it is 
decisive in fitting him for the work of the spirit. He may then either 
go out to the meeting with mystery or fall back on the enjoyment and 
dissipation of his concentrated being. The second takes place not 
within man but between man and God. It is a moment of ecstasy in 
which what is felt to be 'union' is actually the dynamic of relation. 
Here on the brink the meeting is felt so forcibly in its vital unity that 
the I and the Thou between which it is established are forgotten. 

In lived reality, even in 'inner' reality, there is no 'unity of being.' 
Reality exists only in eflfective, mutual action, and 'the most powerful 
and deepest reality exists where everything enters into the effective 
action, without reserve ... the united / and the boundless Thou' The 
doctrine of mystical absorption is based on 'the colossal illusion of the 
human spirit that is bent back on itself, that spirit exists in man.' In 
renouncing the meaning of spirit as relation, as between man and what 
is not man, man makes the world and God into functions of the 
human soul. In actuality, the world is not in man nor is man entirely 
included within the world. The image of the world is in man but not 
its reality, and man bears within himself the sense of self, that cannot 
be included in the world. What matters is how man causes his attitude 
of soul to grow to real life that acts upon the world. 

I know nothing of a 'world' and a 'life in the world' that might 
separate a man from God. What is thus described is actually life 
with an alienated world of //, which experiences and uses. He who 
truly goes out to meet the world goes out also to God. Concentra- 
tion and outgoing are necessary, both in truth, at once the one and 
the other, which is the One.^ 

The misinterpretation of relation as union has led both eastern and 
western mystics to make union with God a goal in itself and to turn 
away from the responsibility of the I for the Thou. To seek consciously 
to become a saint, or attain 'union,' as is advocated by some modern 
mystics,^ is to abandon oneself to the world of It — the world of con- 
scious aims and purposes supported by a collection of means, such as 

spiritual exercises, abstinence, and recollection. Greater for us than this 


^ / and Thouy op. cit., pp. 85-95. 

2 See for example the writings of Gerald Heard, in particular 77ie Third Morality 
(New York: William Morrow, London: Cassell, 1937), chaps, viii-xi; Pain, Sex, and 
Time (New York: Harper & Brothers, London: Cassell, 1939), chaps, xi-xii, xvi; 
A Preface to Prayer (New York: Harper & Brothers, 1944, London: Cassell, 1945); 
and The Eternal Gospel (New York: Harper & Brothers, 1946, London: Cassell, 
1948), chap. xi. 


The Eternal Thou 
'phenomenon of the brink,* writes Buber, is *the central reality of the 
everyday hour on earth, with a streak of sun on a maple twig and the 
glimpse of the eternal Thou: ^ Reality is to be found not in the pure 
and lasting but in the whole of man, not in ecstasy beyond the worid 
of the senses but in the hallowing of the everyday. 

We may know remoteness from God, but we do not know the absence 
of God, for *it is we only who are not always there.* *Every real relation 
in the worid is consummated in the interchange of actual and potential 
being, but in pure relation — in the relation of man to God — potential 
is still actual being. It is only our nature that compels us to draw the 
Eternal Thou into the world and the talk of It. By virtue of this great 
privilege of pure relation there exists the unbroken world of Thou which 
binds up the isolated moments of relation in a life of world solidarity. 

By virtue of this privilege . . . spirit can penetrate and trans- 
form the world of It. By virtue of this privilege we are not given 
up to alienation from the world and the loss of reality by the / — 
to domination by the ghostly. Turning is the recognition of the 
Centre and the act of turning again to it. In this act of the being 
the buried relational power of man rises again, the wave that 
carries all the sphere of relation swells in living streams to give 
new life to our world. - 

It is this unbroken world of Thou which assures us that relation can 
never fall apart into complete duality, that evil can never become 
radically real and absolute. Without this limit to the reality of evil we 
would have no assurance that I-It can become I-Thou, that men and 
cultures can turn back to God in the fundamental act of reversal, the 
teshuvah. Without this limit the world of It would be evil in itself and 
incapable of being redeemed. Buber describes the relation of the world 
to what is not the world as a 

double movement, of estrangement from the primal Source, in 
virtue of which the universe is sustained in the process of becoming, 
and of turning toward the primal Source, in virtue of which the 
universe is released in being. . . . Both parts of this movement 
develop, fraught with destiny, in time, and are compassed by grace 
in the timeless creation that is, incomprehensibly, at once emanci- 
pation and preservation, release and binding. Our knowledge of 
twofold nature is silent before the paradox of the primal mystery.^ 

This primal twofold movement underlies three of the most important 
aspects of Buber's I-Thou philosophy. The first is the alternation 
between I-Thou and I-It. The second is the alternation between 

1 / and Thou, op. cit., p. 87 f. » Ibid., p. 98 ff. 

' Ibid., p. 100 f. 



summons, the approach to the meeting with the eternal Thou, and 
sending, the going forth from that meeting to the world of men. The 
third is the alternation between revelation, in which the relational act 
takes place anew and flows into cultural and religious forms, and the 
turning, in which man turns from the rigidified forms of religion to the 
direct meeting with the Eternal Thou. Evil for Buber is the predominance 
of I-It through a too great estrangement from the primal Source and 
good the permeation of the world of It by I-Thou through a constant 
return to the primal Source. As in Buber's Hasidic philosophy the 'evil 
impulse' can be used to serve God, so I-It, the movement away from 
the primal Source, can serve as the basis for an ever greater realization 
of I-Thou in the world of It. 

There are three spheres, says Buber, in which the world of relation 
is built: our life with nature, our life with men, and our life with 
'intelligible essences.' Each of these gates leads into the presence of the 
Word, but when the full meeting takes place they 'are united in one 
gateway of real life.' Of the three spheres, our life with man 'is the 
main portal into whose opening the two side-gates leads, and in which 
they are included.' It is here alone that the moments of relation are 
bound together by speech, and here alone 'as reality that cannot be 
lost' are 'knowing and being known, loving and being loved.' The 
relation with man is thus 'the real simile of the relation with God,' for 
'in it true address receives true response.' But in God's response all the 
universe is made manifest as language.^ 

Solitude is necessary for relation with God. It frees one from 
experiencing and using, and it purifies one before going out to the great 
meeting. But the solitude which means absence of relation and the 
stronghold of isolation, the solitude in which man conducts a dialogue 
with himself, cannot lead man to God. Similarly, we do not come to 
God through putting away our 'idols' — our finite goods such as our 
nation, art, power, knowledge, or money — and allowing the diverted 
religious act to return to the fitting object. These finite goods always 
mean using and possessing, and one cannot use or possess God. He 
who is dominated by an idol has no way to God but the turning, 'which 
is a change not only of goal but also of the nature of his movement.' ^ 

He who has relation with the Eternal Thou also has relation with the 
Thou of the world. To view the religious man as one who does not 
need to take his stand in any relation to the world and living beings is 
falsely to divide life 'between a real relation with God and an unreal 
relation of / and It with the world.' No matter how inward he may be, 
the 'religious' man still lives in the world. Therefore, if he does not 
have an I-Thou relation with the world, he necessarily makes the world 
into an It. He treats it as a means for his sustenance or as an object for 
1 / and Thou, op. cit., p. 101 ff. ^ /^^-^^ pp 103-106. 


The Eternal Thou 
his contemplation. *You cannot both truly pray to God and profit by 
the worii. He who knows the world as something by which he is to 
profit knows God also in the same way.' ^ 

In the moment of supreme meeting man receives revelation, but this 
revelation is neither experience nor knowledge. It is *a presence as 
power' which transforms him into a dififerent being from what he was 
when he entered the meeting. This Presence and power include three 
things: *the whole fulness of real mutual action,' *the inexpressible 
confirmation of meaning,' and the call to confirm this meaning 'in this 
life and in relation with this world.' But as the meaning cannot be 
transmitted and made into knowledge, so the confirmation of it cannot 
be transmitted as 'a valid Ought,' a formula, or a set of prescriptions. 

The meaning that has been received can be proved true by each 
man only in the singleness of his being and the singleness of his 
life. ... As we reach the meeting with the simple Thou on our lips, 
so with the Thou on our lips we leave it and return to the world.^ 

Man can only succeed in raising relation to constancy if he embodies 
it 'in the whole stuff of life,' 'if he realizes God anew in the world 
according to his strength and to the measure of each day.' This is not 
a question of completely overcoming the relation of It but of so 
penetrating it with Thou 'that relation wins in it a shining streaming 
constancy: the moments of supreme meeting are then not flashes in 
darkness but like the rising moon in a clear starlit night.' Man cannot 
gain constancy of relation through directly concerning himself with 
God; for 'reflexion,' bending back towards God, makes Him into an 
object. It is the man who has been sent forth to whom God remains 

The mighty revelations at the base of the great religions are the same 
in being as the quiet ones that happen at all times. Revelation 'does not 
pour itself into the world through him who receives it as through a 
funnel; it comes to him and seizes his whole elemental being in all its 
particular nature and fuses with it.' But there is a qualitative diff'erence 
in the relation of the various ages of history to God. In some, human 
spirit is suppressed and buried ; in some, it matures in readiness for full 
relation; in some, the relation takes place and with it fresh expansion 
of being. Thus in the course of history elemental human stuff* is trans- 
formed, and 'ever new provinces of the world and the spirit ... are 
summoned to divine form.' 

The form that is created as a result of this theophany is a fusion of 
Thou and It. God remains near this form so long as belief and cult are 
united and purified through true prayer. With degeneration of prayer 

1 Ibid., p. 107. 2 Ibid., pp. 109-114. 

3 Ibid.,^. 114ff. 



the power to enter into relation is buried under increasing objectifica- 
tion, and *it becomes increasingly difficult ... to say Thou with the 
whole undivided being.' In order to be able to say it, man must finally 
come out of the false security of community into the final solitude of 
the venture of the infinite. 

This course is not circular. It is the way. In each new aeon fate 
becomes more oppressive, turning more shattering. And the the- 
ophany becomes ever nearer, increasingly near to the sphere that 
lies between beings, to the Kingdom that is hidden in our midst, 
there between us. History is a mysterious approach. Every spiral 
of its way leads us both into profounder perversion and more 
fundamental turning. But the event that from the side of the world 
is called turning is called from God's side salvation.^ 

The fundamental beliefs of Buber's I-Thou philosophy are the reality 
of the I-Thou relation into which no deception can penetrate, the 
reality of the meeting between God and man which transforms man's 
being, and the reality of the turning which puts a limit to man's move- 
ment away from God. On the basis of these beliefs Buber has defined 
evil as the predominance of the world of It to the exclusion of relation, 
and he has conceived of the redemption of evil as taking place in the 
primal movement of the turning which brings man back to God and 
back to solidarity of relation with man and the world. Relation is 
*good' and alienation *evil.' Yet the times of alienation may prepare 
the forces that will be directed, when the turning comes, not only to 
the earthly forms of relation but to the Eternal Thou. 

^ / and Thou, op. cit., pp. 116-120. 




SINCE / and Thou Buber had enjoyed thirty years of continuous 
productivity in an extended range of interests. During this period 
he has made an unusual translation of the Bible into German in 
collaboration with Franz Rosenzweig and has written several important 
works of biblical interpretation. He has also expanded and deepened 
his interest in Hasidism, Judaism, Zionism, and religious socialism, and 
he has explored the implications of his I-ThOu philosophy for education, 
community, sociology, psychology, art, and philosophical anthro- 

Though Buber's ideas have validity for the various fields in which 
he has expressed them, they also retain their nature as integral parts of 
his philosophy. Buber has himself stressed this unity in his Forewords 
to Kampfum Israel (1933) and Dialogisches Leben (1947). In the former 
he states that all the works which he had published in the last twelve 
years belong to 'the beginning of a proper expression of my real relation 
to truth.' In the latter he states that the intention of the essays and talks 
in the volume, written between 1922 and 1941, is to point to a reality 
which has been neglected by thought, a reality *of which I am today, as 
in the beginning of this work, certain that it is essential for the existence 
of men, mighty in meaning and in saving power. ... "I and Thou" 
stands at the head while all of the others stand in an illustrative and 
supplementary relation to it.' ^ 

It should be recognized at the same tune that the supplementary 
function of Buber's works since / and Thou includes not only an 
elaboration of the I-Thou philosophy and its extension into new fields, 
but also, as an integral part of this extension, a deepening and solidifi- 
cation. This deepening and solidification has produced several highly 

1 Martin Buber, Kampf urn Israel. Reden und Schriften (1921-1932) (Berlin: 
Schocken Verlag, 1933), p. vii (my translation); Martin Buber, Dialogisches Leben. 
Gesammelte philosophische und pddagogische Schriften (Zurich: Gregor Muller 
Verlag, 1947), pp. 9-10 (my translation). 



significant developments in Buber's thought: a growing concern with 
the nature and meaning of evil as opposed to his earlier tendency to 
treat evil as a negative aspect of something else; a growing concern 
with freedom and grace, divine and human love, and the dread through 
which man must pass to reach God ; a steady movement toward concern 
with the simpler and more concrete aspects of everyday life; and an 
ever greater simplicity and solidity of style. 

An especially important and still uncompleted development in 
Buber's thought is his philosophical anthropology — the study of the 
problem of man. Buber defines 'philosophical anthropology' as the study 
of *the wholeness of man,' and he lists the following as among the 
problems *which are implicitly set up at the same time by this question' : 

man's special place in the cosmos, his connexion with destiny, his 
relation to the world of things, his understanding of his fellowmen, 
his existence as a being that knows it must die, his attitude in the 
ordinary and extraordinary encounters with the mystery with 
which his life is shot through.^ 

The concern with the wholeness of man rules out the attempt to answer 
the question of what man is in terms of particular philosophical 
disciplines : 

Philosophy succeeds in rendering me . . . help in its individual 
disciplines precisely through each of th jse disciplines not reflecting, 
and not being able to reflect, on the wholeness of man ... in every 
one of these disciplines the possibility of its achieving anything in 
thought rests precisely on its objectification, on what may be 
termed its 'de-humanization.' 

At the same time Buber disagrees with Heidegger in his belief that 
philosophical anthropology can provide a foundation for metaphysics 
or for the individual philosophical sciences. In doing so it would 
become so general that it would reach a false unity instead of the 
genuine wholeness of the subject based on 'the contemplation of all 
its manifold nature.' 

A legitimate philosophical anthropology must know that there 
is not merely a human species but also peoples, not merely a human 
soul but also types and characters, not merely a human life but also 
stages in life ; only from the . . . recognition of the dynamic that 
exerts power within every particular reality and between them, and 
from the constantly new proof of the one in the many, can it come 
to see the wholeness of man. 

1 Between Man and Man, op. cit., 'What Is Man?', p. 120 f. 

What is Man? 
Buber proceeds to set up philosophical anthropology as a systematic 
method which deals with the concrete, existential characteristics of 
man's life in order to arrive at the wholeness of man: 

Even as it must again and again distinguish within the human 
race in order to arrive at a solid comprehension, so it must put man 
in all seriousness into nature, it must compare him with other 
things, other living creatures, other bearers of consciousness, in 
order to define his special place reliably for him. Only by this 
double way of distinction and comparison does it reach the whole, 
real man.^ 

In defining philosophical anthropology as the problem of finding one 
essence of man in the constant flux of individuals and cultures, Buber 
has once again made visible the way of the 'narrow ridge.' For only 
through this approach can we avoid the abyss of abstract unity on the 
one hand and that of meaningless relativity on the other. In a further 
definition of the problem Buber writes : Man's existence is constituted 
by his participation, at the same time and in the same actions, in 
finitude and infinity. Related to this definition is his designation of man 
in *The Question to the Single One' as the only creature who has 
potentiality. Even though this wealth of possibility is confined within 
narrow limits, these limits are only factual and not essential. Man's 
action is unforeseeable in its nature and extent.^ It is because of this 
potentiality that Buber is able to speak in terms of the freedom of man 
and the reality of evil. 

A corollary of Buber' s emphasis on the wholeness of man is his 
rejection of the traditional idea that man is human because of his 

The depth of the anthropological question is first touched when 
we also recognize as specifically human that which is not reason. 
Man is not a centaur, he is man through and through. He can be 
understood only when one knows, on the one hand, that there is 
something in all that is human, including thought, which belongs 
to the general nature of living creatures, and is to be grasped from 
this nature, while knowing, on the other hand, that there is no 
human quality which belongs fully to the general nature of living 
creatures and is to be grasped exclusively from it. Even man's 
hunger is not an animal's hunger. Human reason is to be under- 
stood only in connexion with human non-reason. The problem of 
philosophical anthropology is the problem of a specific totality and 
of its specific structure.^ 

1 Ibid., p. 121 fr. « Ibid., p. 77 f. 

' Ibid., p. 160. 




Through- contrasting man with the rest of nature Buber derives a 
twofold principle of human life consisting of two basic movements. The 
first movement he calls *the primal setting at a distance,' the second 
'entering into relation.' The first movement is the presupposition for 
the second, for we can only enter into relation with being that has been 
set at a distance from us and thereby has become an independent 
opposite. Only man can perform this act of setting at a distance because 
only man has a *world' — an unbroken continuum which includes not 
only all that he and other men know and experience but all that is 
knowable now and in the future. An animal does not have a world but 
only an environment or realm. An animal selects from his realm those 
things which he needs, but he does not see it as a separate whole nor, 
like man, complete what is perceived by what can be perceived. This 
primal distancing is true not only of man's connection with space but 
of his connection with time. An animal's actions are concerned with 
its future and that of its young, but only man imagines the future. *The 
beaver's dam is extended in a timQ-realm, but the planted tree is rooted 
in the world of time, and he who plants the first tree is he who will 
expects the Messiah.' 

Buber characterizes the act of entering into relation with the world 
as a 'synthesizing apperception,' the apperception of a being as a whole 
and as a unity. Only by looking at the world as a world can man grasp 
being as a wholeness and unity. This is done not simply through 'setting 
at a distance' but also through entering into relation. 

Only the view of what is over against me in the world in its full 
presence, with which I have set myself, p resent in my whole person, 
in relation — only this view gives me the world truly as whole and 

Distance makes room for relation, but relation does not necessarily 
follow. The real history of the spirit begins in the extent of the mutual 
interaction, reaction, and co-operation of the two movements. They 
may complete or contend with one another; each may see the other as 
the means or as the obstacle to its own realization. The great phenomena 
in history on the side of acts of distance are preponderantly universal 
while those on the side of acts of relation are preponderantly personal. 
The first movement shows how man is possible, the second how man 
is realized. 'Distance provides the human situation, relation provides 
man's becoming in that situation.' 

An animal makes use of a stick as a tool, but only man sets it aside 
for future use as a specific and persisting It with a known capacity. 
But it is not enough for man to use and possess things. He also has a 


What is Man ? 
great desire to enter into personal relation with things and to imprint 
on them his relation to them. It is here, in man's relation to things, that 
we find the origin of art. A work of art is not the impression of natural 
objectivity nor the expression of spiritual subjectivity. It is the witness 
of the relation between the human substance and the substance of 

Art ... is the realm of 'between' which has become a form. 
Consider great nude sculptures of the ages: none of them is to be 
understood properly either from the givenness of the human body 
or from the will to expression of an inner state, but solely from the 
relational event which takes place between two entities which have 
gone apart from one another, the withdrawn *body' and the with- 
drawing *soul.' 

In men's relation to one another the twofold principle of human life 
can be seen still more clearly. An insect society has division of labour, 
but it allows neither variation nor individual award. In human societies, 
in contrast, persons confirm each other in a practical way in their 
personal qualities and capacities. Indeed, a society may be termed 
human in the measure to which this mutual confirmation takes place. 
Apart from the tool and the weapon, it is this mutual individual 
completion and recognition of function which has enabled man to 
achieve lordship of the earth. An animal cannot see its companions 
apart from their common life, nor ascribe to the enemy any existence 
beyond his hostility. Man sets man at a distance and makes him in- 
dependent. He is therefore able to enter into relation, in his own 
individual status, with those like himself. 

The basis of man's life with man is twofold, and it is one — the 
wish of every man to be confirmed as what he is, even as what he 
can become, by men ; and the innate capacity in man to confirm his 
fellow men in this way. That this capacity lies so immeasurably 
fallow constitutes the real weakness and questionableness of the 
human race: actual humanity exists only where this capacity un- 
folds. On the other hand, of course, an empty claim for confirma- 
tion, without devotion for being and becoming, again and again 
mars the truth of life between man and man. 

This mutual confirmation is best illustrated by speech. Animals call 
to one another, but only man speaks to other men as independent and 
particular others. Man sets his calls or words at a distance like his tools. 
He gives them independence in order that they may come to life again 
in genuine conversation. This process is perverted and the reality of 
speech misused when conversations take place without real dialogue. 
Genuine conversation, like every genuine fulfilment of relation between 



men, means acceptance of otherness. This means that ahhough one may 
desire to influence the other and to lead him to share in one's relation 
to truth, one accepts and confirms him in his being this particular man 
made in this particular way. One wishes him to have a differept relation 
to one's own truth in accordance with his individuality. The mani- 
pulator of propaganda and suggestion, in contrast, wishes to make use 
of men. He relates to men not as independently other beings but as to 
things, things moreover with which he will never enter into relation and 
which he is eager to rob of their distance. 

Thus mutual confirmation of men is most fully realized in what Buber 
calls 'making present,' an event which happens partially wherever men 
come together but in its essential structure only rarely. Making the 
other present means to 'imagine' the real, to imagine quite concretely 
what another man is wishing, feeling, perceiving, and thinking. In the 
full making present something of the character of what is imagined is 
joined to the act of imagining. One to some extent wills what he is 
willing, thinks what he is thinking, feels what he is feeling. The parti- 
cular pain which I inflict on another surges up in myself until para- 
doxically we are embraced in a common situation. It is through this 
making present that we grasp another as a self, that is as a being whose 
distance from me cannot be separated from my distance from him and 
whose particular experience I can make present. This event is not 
ontologically complete until he knows himself made present by me and 
until this knowledge induces the process of his inmost self-becoming. 
'For the inmost growth of the self is not accomplished, as people like 
to suppose today, in man's relation to himself, but ... in the making 
present of another self and in the knowledge that one is made present 
in his own self by the other.' An animal does not need confirmation 
because he is what he is unquestionably. Man, in contrast, needs to 
have a presence in the being of the other. 

Sent forth from the natural domain of species into the hazard of 
the solitary category, surrounded by the air of a chaos which came 
into being with him, secretly and bashfully he watches for a Yes 
which allows him to be and which can come to him only from one 
human person to another.^ 


It is clear that 'entering into relation' means entering into an I-Thou 
relation, yet it is equally clear that one cannot identify distance with 

^ Martin Buber, 'Distance and Relation,' translated by Ronald Gregor Smith, 
The Hibbert Journal, January 1951, Vol. XLIX, pp. 105-113. The connection of the 
whole work with my writings on dialogical existence ... is probably clear to the 
reader,* writes Buber in the 'Vorwort' to the German original, Urdistanz and 
Beziehung (Heidelberg: Verlag Lambert Schneider, 1951). 


What is Man ? 

I-It. When man fails to enter into relation, however, the distance 
thickens and solidifies, so that instead of being that which makes room 
for relation it becomes that which obstructs it. This failure to enter into 
relation corresponds to I-It, and distance thus becomes the presupposi- 
tion for both I-Thou and I-It. Entering into relation is an act of the 
whole being — it is in fact the act by which we constitute ourselves as 
human, and it is an act which must be repeated ever again in ever new 
situations. Distance, in contrast, is not an act and neither is failure to 
enter into relation : both are states of being. 

When Buber speaks in / and Thou of I-Thou as preceding I-It in the 
primitive man and the child, he is speaking of the genesis of these 
relations. In *Distance and Relation,' on the other hand, he is speaking 
ontologically of what constitutes the human being as a human being : 
he is not here interested in discovering just when, in the life of the 
race and the individual, man really becomes man but only in discovering 
what makes up the essence of man once he is man. Even ontologically 
speaking, however, it might appear that if distance is the presupposition 
for relationship and I-It is the thickening of distance, then the I-It 
relation precedes rather than follows the I-Thou. This apparent contra- 
diction rests on a misconception, namely, that the thickening of the 
distance is closer to the original situation than the entrance into relation. 
Distance precedes the I-Thou and I-It relations which make up personal 
existence. This distance given, man is able to enter into relation with 
other beings or, as we have seen, he is able to enlarge, develop, accen- 
tuate, and shape the distance itself. In this shaping of the distance the 
primary state of things is elaborated as it is not in I-Thou. The I-Thou 
relation changes nothing in the primary state of things, but the thicken- 
ing of distance into I-It changes the whole situation of the other being, 
making it into one's object. Looking at and observing the object, we 
make it part of an objective world with which we do not enter into 
relationship. Hence the I-It, or subject-object, relationship is not the 
primary one but is an elaboration of the given as the I-Thou relationship 
is not. 

In the actual development of the human person, entering into relation 
precedes the thickening of distance that obstructs relation. The baby 
does not proceed directly from complete unity with its mother to that 
primary I-Thou relation which Buber has described in the child. 
Already in its first days, according to Buber, a child has the fact of 
distance, that is, the sense of beings as different from and over against 
him. In entering into relation with its mother the child completes this 
distance, and it is only later when he ceases to enter into relation that 
he sees her as an object and falls into the I-It's shaping and elaboration 
of the distance.^ This same thing happens later when the child goes 
^ I am indebted to Professor Buber for oral elucidation of these problems. 



through that process of emergence of the self which Erich Fromm has 
described.^ As consciousness of one's separateness grows, it becomes 
more and more difficult to overcome the distance through relation; 
heightened insecurity and need for decision produce an ever greater 
temptation to accentuate the distance and take refuge in the pseudo- 
security of the world of It, the world of ordered objectivity and private 

In 'Religion and Modern Thought' Buber criticizes Sartre's statement 
that man 'should affirm himself as the being through whom a world 
exists.' That ordering of known phenomena which we call the world,' 
writes Buber, 'is, indeed, the composite work of a thousand human 
generations.' But, he goes on to say, this world has come into existence 
through our meeting with existing being unknowable to us in its own 
nature. Though the becoming of a world takes place through us, our 
social ordering of the world rests, in its turn, on the priority of the 
meeting with existing being, and this meeting is not our work.^ Hence 
here too entering into relation precedes the elaboration of distance, 
I-Thou precedes I-It. 

While I-It can be defined as the enlarging and thickening of distance, 
it can also be defined as the objectification of the I-Thou relation which 
sometimes serves as the way back to it and sometimes obstructs the 
return. The I-Thou relation supplies the form for I-It, the form in which 
the distance is thickened. The form of the I-Thou relation remains as a 
means of re-entering relation, of executing anew the essential human 
act ; but this form may block the return to the I-Thou relation through 
its false appearance of being itself the real thing. 

^ Erich Fromm, Escape from Freedom (New York: Rinehart & Co., 1941), chap. ii. 

^ Martin Buber, Eclipse of God, Studies in the Relation between Religion and 
Philosophy (New York: Harper & Brothers, 1952), 'Religion and Philosophy,' 
translated by Maurice S. Friedman, p. 58 f., 'Religion and Modem Thought,' also 
my translation, p. 91 f. 



THE fundamental fact of human existence, according to Buber's 
anthropology, is man with man. But the sphere in which man 
meets man has been ignored because it possesses no smooth 
continuity. Its experience has been annexed to the soul and to the world, 
so that what happens to an individual can be distributed between outer 
and inner impressions. But when two individuals 'happen' to each 
other, then there is an essential remainder which is common to them, 
but which reaches out beyond the special sphere of each. That remainder 
is the basic reality, the 'sphere of between' {das Zwischenmenschliche)} 
The participation of both partners is in principle indispensable to this 
sphere, whether the reciprocity be fully actual or directly capable of 
being realized through completion or intensification. The unfolding of 
this sphere Buber calls 'the dialogical.' The psychological, that which 
happens within the souls of each, is only the secret accompaniment to 
the dialogue. The meaning of this dialogue is found in neither one nor 
the other of the partners, nor in both taken together, but in their inter- 

The essential problematic of the sphere of the between, writes Buber, 
is the duality of being and seeming. We must distinguish between 
two different types of human existence, one of which proceeds from the 
essence — from what one really is — the other of which proceeds from 
an image — from what one wishes to appear to be. Like the I-Thou and 
the I-It relations, these types are generally mixed with one another 
since no man lives from pure essence and none from pure appearance. 
None the less, some men may be basically characterized as 'essence 
men' {Wesensmensch) and some as 'image men' (Bildmensch). The 
essence man looks at the other as one to whom one gives oneself. His 
glance is spontaneous and unaffected. He is not uninfluenced by the 
desire to make himself understood, but he has no thought for the 
conception of himself that he might awaken in the beholder. The image 
man, in contrast, is primarily concerned with what the other thinks of 

^ Between Man and Man, op. cit., 'What Is Man?', pp. 202-205. 



him. With the help of man's ability to allow a certain element of his 
being to appear in his glance, he produces a look that is meant to affect 
the other as a spontaneous expression reflecting a personal being of 
such and such qualities. There is, in addition, a third realm of 'genuine 
appearance' in which a young person imitates a heroic model and 
becomes something of what he imitates. Here the mask is a real mask 
and not a deception. But where the appearance arises from a lie and is 
permeated by it, the 'sphere of the between' is threatened in its very 

Whatever the word *truth' may mean in other spheres, in the realm 
between man and man it means that one imparts oneself to the other 
as what one is. This is not a question of saying to the other everything 
that occurs to one, but of allowing the person with whom one com- 
municates to partake of one's being. It is a question of the authenticity 
of what is between men, without which there can be no authentic 
human existence. The origin of the tendency toward appearance is 
found in man's need for confirmation. It is no easy thing to be con- 
firmed by the other in one's essence ; therefore, one looks to appearance 
for aid. To give in to this tendency is the real cowardice of man, to with- 
stand it is his real courage. One must pay dearly at times for essential 
life, but never too dearly. T have never met any young man who seemed 
to me hopelessly bad,' writes Buber. It is only the successive layers of 
deception that give the illusion of individuals who are 'image men' by 
their very nature. 'Man is, as man, redeemable.' 

True confirmation means that one confirms one's partner as this 
existing being even while one opposes him. I legitimize him over against 
me as the one with whom I have to do in real dialogue, and I may then 
trust him also to act towards me as a partner. To confirm him in this 
way I need the aid of 'imagining the real.' This is no intuitive percep- 
tion but a bold swinging into the other which demands the intensest 
action of my being, even as does all genuine fantasy, only here the realm 
of my act 'is not the all-possible' but the particular, real person who steps 
up to meet me, the person whom I seek to make present as just so and 
not otherwise in all his wholeness, unity, and uniqueness. I can only 
do this as a partner, standing in a common situation with the other, and 
even then my address to the other may remain unanswered and the 
dialogue may die in seed. 

If it is the interaction between man and man which makes possible 
authentic human existence, it follows that the precondition of such 
authentic existence is that each overcomes the tendency toward appear- 
ance, that each means the other in his personal existence and makes 
him present as such, and that neither attempts to impose his own truth 
or view on the other. It would be mistaken to speak here of individua- 
tion alone. Individuation is only the indispensable personal stamp of 


The Life of Dialogue 
all realization of human being. The self as such is not ultimately essential 
but the created meaning of human existence again and again fulfils itself 
as self. The help that men give each other in becoming a self leads the 
life between men to its height. The dynamic glory of the being of man 
is first bodily present in the relation between two men each of whom 
in meaning the other also means the highest to which this person is 
called and serves the fulfilment of this created destiny without wishing 
to impose anything of his own realization on the other. 

In genuine dialogue the experiencing senses and the real fantasy 
which supplements them work together to make the other present as 
whole and one. For this dialogue to be real, one must not only mean the 
other, but also bring oneself, and that means say at times what one really 
thinks about the matter in question. One must make the contribution 
of one's spirit without abbreviation and distortion : ever>'thing depends 
here upon the legitimacy of what one has to say. Not holding back is the 
opposite of letting oneself go, for true speech involves thought as to the 
way in which one brings to words what one has in mind. A further pre- 
condition of genuine dialogue is the overcoming of appearance. If, even 
in an atmosphere of genuine conversation, the thought of one's effect 
as speaker outweighs the thought of what one has to say, then one 
inevitably works as a destroyer. One irreparably deforms what one has 
to say: it enters deformed into the conversation, and the conversation 
itself is deformed. Because genuine conversation is an ontological 
sphere which constitutes itself through the authenticity of being, every 
intrusion of appearance can injure it. 

Genuine conversation is most often found in the dialogue between 
two persons, but it also occurs occasionally in a dialogue of several 
voices. Not everyone present has to speak for this dialogue to be 
genuine, but no one can be there as a mere observer. Each must be ready 
to share with the others, and no one who really takes part can know 
in advance that he will not have something to say.^ 

Genuine dialogue can thus be either spoken or silent. Its essence lies 
in the fact that *each of the participants really has in mind the other 
or others in their present and particular being and turns to them with 
the intention of establishing a living mutual relation between himself 
and them.' The essential element of genuine dialogue, therefore, is 
'seeing the other' or 'experiencing the other side.' There is no human 
situation which is so rotten and God-forsaken that the meeting with 
otherness cannot take place within it. The ordinary man can, and at 
times does, break through 'from the status of the dully-tempered dis- 
agreeableness, obstinacy, and contraryness' in which he lives into an 

^Martin Buber, 'Elements of the Interhuman,' translated by Ronald 
Gregor Smith, Psychiatry, Vol. XX, No. 2 (May 1957), pp. 105- 



effective reality. This reality is the simple quantum satis, or sufficient 
amount, *of that which this man in this hour of his life is able to fulfil 
and to receive — if he gives himself.* 

No factory and no office is so abandoned by creation that a 
creative glance could not fly up from one working-place to another, 
from desk to desk, a sober and brotherly glance which guarantees 
the reality of creation which is happening — quantum satis. And 
nothing is so valuable a service of dialogue between God and man 
as such an unsentimental and unreserved exchange of glances 
between two men in an alien place. 

It is also possible for a leader of business to fill his business with 
dialogue by meeting the men with whom he works as persons. Even 
when he cannot meet them directly, he can be 'inwardly aware, with a 
latent and disciplined fantasy, of the multitude of these persons,' so 
that when one of them does step before him as an individual, he can 
meet him *not as a number with a human mask but as a person.' ^ 

'Experiencing the other side' means to feel an event from the side of 
the person one meets as well as from one's own side. It is an inclusive- 
ness which realizes the other person in the actuality of his being, but it 
is not to be identified with 'empathy,' which means transposing oneself 
into the dynamic structure of an object, hence 'the exclusion of one's 
own concreteness, the extinguishing of the actual situation of life, the 
absorption in pure aestheticism of the reality in which one participates.' 

Inclusion is the opposite of this. It is the extension of one's own 
concreteness, the fulfilment of the actual situation of life, the 
complete presence of the reality in which one participates. Its 
elements are, first, a relation, of no matter what kind, between two 
persons, second, an event experienced by them in common, in 
which at least one of them actively participates, and, third, the 
fact that this one person, without forfeiting anything of the felt 
reality of his activity, at the same time lives through the common 
event from the standpoint of the other. ^ 

Experiencing the other side is the essence of all genuine love. The 
'eros' of monologue is a display or enjoyment of subjective feelings. 
The eros of dialogue, on the other hand, means the turning of the lover 
to the beloved 'in his otherness, his independence, his self-reality,' and 
*with all the power of intention' of his own heart. He does not assimilate 
into his own soul what lives and faces him, but he vows it faithfully to 
himself and himself to it. 

1 Between Man and Man, 'Dialogue,' pp. 20-24, 27, 36-39; Kampf urn Israel, 
op. cit., p. 279. 

2 Ibid.y 'Education,' p. 96 f. 


The Life of Dialogue 
A man caresses a woman, who lets herself be caressed. Then let 
us assume that he feels the contact from two sides— with the palm 
of his hand still, and also with the woman's skin. The twofold 
nature of the gesture, as one that takes place between two persons, 
thrills through the depth of enjoyment in his heart and stirs it. If he 
does not deafen his heart he will have — not to renounce the enjoy- 
ment but — to love. . . . The one extreme experience makes the other 
person present to him for all time. A transfusion has taken place 
after which a mere elaboration of subjectivity is never again 
possible or tolerable to him.^ 

The 'inclusion' of the other takes place still more deeply and fully in 
marriage, which Buber describes as 'the exemplary bond' and 'decisive 
union.' He who has entered into marriage has been in earnest 'with the 
fact that the other is' with the fact that he 'cannot legitimately share 
in the Present Being without sharing in the being of the other.' If this 
marriage is real it leads to a 'vital acknowledgement of many-faced 
otherness — even in the contradiction and conflict with it.' ^ 

The crises of marriage and the overcoming of them which rises out 
of the organic depths lead men to recognize in the body poUtic in 
general that other persons have not only a different way of thinking, 
but 'a different perception of the world, a different recognition and order 
of meaning, a different touch from the regions of existence, a different 
faith, a different soil.' To afl^rm this difference in the midst of conflict 
without relaxing the real seriousness of the conflict is the way in which 
we can from time to time touch on the -other's 'truth' or 'untruth,' 
'justice' or 'injustice.' 

'Love without dialogic, without real outgoing to the other, reaching 
to the other, and companying with the other, the love remaining with 
itself^this is called Lucifer.' This 'love' is evil because it is monological. 
The monological man is not aware of the 'otherness' of the other, but 
instead tries to incorporate the other into himself. The basic movement 
of the life of monologue is not turning away from the other but 
'reflexion' (Riickbiegung), bending back on oneself. 'Reflexion' is not 
egotism but the withdrawal from accepting the other person in his 
particularity in favour of letting him exist only as one's own experience, 
only as a part of oneself. Through this withdrawal 'the essence of all 
reality begins to disintegrate.' ^ 

Renewed contact with reality cannot be made through the direct 
attempt to 'remove' or 'deny' the self nor even through despair at one's 
selfishness, for these entail another and related form of monologue : 

1 Ibid., 'Dialogue,' p. 29 f., 'Education,' p. 96 f. 

2 Ibid., 'The Question to the Single One,' p. 60 f. 

3 Ibid., 'Dialogue,' pp. 21-24. 



preoccupation with one's self. The soul does not have its object in itself, 
nor is its knowing, purifying, and perfecting itself for its own sake 'but 
for the sake of the work which it is destined to perform upon the world.' 
One must distinguish here between that awareness which turns one in 
on oneself and that which enables one to turn to the other. The latter 
is not only essential to the life of dialogue, but is dialogical in its very 
nature : it is the awareness of *the signs' that continually address us in 
everything that happens. These signs are simply what happens when we 
enter into relation with occurrences as really having meaning for us. 
'Each of us is encased in an armour whose task it is to ward off signs,' 
for we are afraid that to open ourselves to them means annihilation. 
We perfect this defence apparatus from generation to generation until 
we can assure ourselves that the world is there to be experienced and 
used as we like but that nothing is directed at us, nothing required of us.^ 

In shutting off our awareness of 'the signs' we are shutting off our 
awareness of the address of God, for He who speaks in the signs is the 
'Lord of the Voice,' the eternal Thou. Every man hides, like Adam, to 
avoid rendering accounts. 'To escape responsibility for his life, he turns 
existence into a system of hideouts' and 'enmeshes himself more and 
more deeply in perversity.' The lie displaces 'the undivided seriousness 
of the human person with himself and all his manifestations' and 
destroys the good will and reliability on which men's life in common 
rests. The external conflict between man and man has its roots in the 
inner contradiction between thought, speech, and action. One's failure 
to say what one means and do what one says 'confuses and poisons, 
again and again and in increasing measure,' the situation between one- 
self and the other man. Unaware that the roots of the conflict are in 
our inner contradiction, we resist beginning with ourselves and demand 
that the other change at the same time. 'But just this perspective, in 
which a man sees himself only as an individual contrasted with other 
individuals, and not as a genuine person whose transformation helps 
towards the transformation of the world, contains the fundamental 
error.' ^ 

To begin with one's own soul may seem senseless to one who holds 

^ Martin Buber, The Way of Man according to the Teachings of Hasidism 
(London: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1950; Chicago: Wilcox & FoUett, 1951), 
pp. 14 f., 36 ff.; Between Man and Man, 'Dialogue,' p. 10 f. 

2 Between Man and Man, p. 14 f.; The Way of Man, pp. 12 f., 30 ff.; Martin 
Buber, Right and Wrong, trans, by Ronald Gregor Smith (London: Student 
Christian Movement Press, 1952), 'Against the Generation of the Lie' (Psalm 12), 
pp. 11-16 (also found in Martin Buber, Good and Evil, Two Interpretations (New 
York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1953), pp. 7-14, which book includes both Right 
and Wrong and Images of Good and Evil, trans, by Michael Bullock (London: 
Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1952); Martin Buber, Hasidism (New York: The 
Philosophical Library, 1948), The Beginnings of Hasidism,' pp. 9-12. 


The Life of Dialogue 
himself bankrupt. But one cannot honestly hold oneself bankrupt until 
one has taken a genuine inventory of one's personality and life, and 
when one has done so, one usually discovers hitherto unsuspected 
reserves. The man with the divided, complicated, contradictory soul is 
not helpless : the core of his soul, the divine force in its depths, is capable 
of . . . binding the conflicting forces together, amalgamating the 
diverging elements.' This unification of the soul is never final. Again 
and again temptation overcomes the soul, and 'again and again innate 
grace arises from out of its depths and promises the utterly incredible: 
you can become whole and one.' ^ This is no easy promise, however, but 
one demanding a total effort of the soul for its realization: 

It is a cruelly hazardous enterprise, this becoming a whole. . . . 
Everything in the nature of inclinations, of indolence, of habits, 
of fondness for possibilities which has been swashbuckling within 
us, must be overcome, and overcome, not by elimination, by sup- 
pression. . . . Rather must all these mobile or static forces, seized 
by the soul's rapture, plunge of their own accord, as it were, into 
the mightiness of decision and dissolve within it.^ 

It is no wonder, writes Buber, that these situations frequently terminate 
in a persistent state of indecision. Yet even if the effort of unification is 
not entirely successful, it may still lay the groundwork for future 
success. 'The unification must be accomplished before a man under- 
takes some unusual work,' but any ordinary work that a man does with 
a united soul acts in the direction of new and greater unification and 
leads him, even if by many detours, to a steadier unity than he had 
before. 'Thus man ultimately reaches a point where he can rely upon his 
soul, because its unity is now so great that it overcomes contradiction 
with effortless ease.' In place of his former great efforts all that is now 
necessary is a relaxed vigilance.* 

In Hasidism 'the holiest teaching is rejected if it is found in someone 
only as a content of his thinking.' In religious reality a person becomes 
a whole. In philosophizing, in contrast, there is a totalization but no 
wholeness, for thinking overwhelms all the faculties of the person. 'In 
a great act of philosophizing even the finger-tips think — but they no 
longer feel.' This contrast must not be understood as one between 
feeling and thought. The wholeness of the religious person includes 
thought 'as an autonomous province but one which no longer strives 
to absolutize its autonomy.' One cannot substitute feeling for this 

^ Martin Buber, 'Erkenntnis tut not,* Almanack des Schocken Verlags auf das 
Jahr 5696 (1935-36) (Berlin), pp. 11-14; The Way of Man, pp. 12 ff., 25 f., 31; 
Images of Good and Evil, p. 68 f. {Good and Evil, p. 127 f.). 

2 Images, p. 69 f. {Good and Evil, p. 128 f.). 

3 Ibid., p. 70 (p. 129); The Way of Man, p. 25 ff. 



personal wholeness since feeling at most only indicates that one is about 
to become whole, and it often merely gives the illusion of wholeness.^ 
It is not the dominance of any one faculty but the unity of all faculties 
within the personality that constitutes the wholeness of man, and it is 
this that Buber calls *spirit.' 

Spirit is not a late bloom on the tree Man, but what constitutes 
man. . . . Spirit ... is man's totality that has become consciousness, 
the totality which comprises and integrates all his capacities, 
powers, qualities, and urges. . . . Spiritual life is nothing but the 
existence of man, in so far as he possesses that true human 
conscious totality.^ 

Man's wholeness does not exist apart from real relationship to other 
beings. In / and Thou, as we have seen, Buber defines spirit in its human 
manifestation as *a response of man to his Thou.'' These two elements 
of wholeness and relation are invariably linked together in Buber's 
mature thought. He defines the relation of trust, for example, as a 
contact of the entire being with the one in whom one trusts. He posits 
as the first axiom of the Bible that man is addressed by God in his life 
and as the second that the life of man is meant by God as a unit. And 
he couples the recognition that true freedom comes only from personal 
wholeness with the assertion that freedom is only of value as a spring- 
board for responsibility and communion. The true person is again and 
again required to detach and shut himself off from others, but this 
attitude is alien to his innermost being: man wants openness to the 
world, he wants the company of others.^ Through relation the whole 
man shares in an absolute meaning which he cannot know in his life by 

Human life touches on absoluteness in virtue of its dialogical 
character, for in spite of his uniqueness man can never find, when 
he plunges to the depth of his life, a being that is whole in itself and 
as such touches on the absolute. . . . This other self may be just as 
limited and conditioned as he is; in being together the unlimited is 

^ Hasidism, The Place of Hasidism in the History of Religion,' p. 192, cf. The 
Foundation Stone,' p. 56 f., 'Spirit and Body of the Hasidic Movement,' pp. 88, 
94; Eclipse of God, op. cit., 'Religion and Philosophy,' p. 60 f.; Martin Buber, Two 
Types of Faith, trans, by Norman P. Goldhawk (London: Routledge & Kegan 
Paul, 1951; New York: The Macmillan Co., 1952), p. 8. 

^ Israel and the World, op. cit., 'The Power of the Spirit,' p. 175. 

3 / and Thou, p. 39; Two Types of Faith, p. 8; Martin Buber, At the Turning 
(New York: Farrar, Straus & Young, 1952), 'The Dialogue between Heaven and 
Earth,' p. 53 ; Between Man and Man, 'Education,' p. 90 ff. ; Martin Buber, 'Remarks 
on Goethe's Concept of Humanity,' Goethe and the Modern Age, ed. by Arnold 
Bergstraesser (Chicago: Henry Regnery, 1950), p. 231 ff. 

* Between Man and Man, 'What Is Man?', p. 167 f. 


The Life of Dialogue 
The child knows the Thou before it knows the separated I. *But on 
the height of personal existence one must truly be able to say / in order 
to know the mystery of the Thou in its whole truth.' ^ Thus partial 
relation precedes inner wholeness but full relation follows it. 

Only the man who has become a Single One, a self, a real person, 
is able to have a complete relation of his life to the other self, a 
relation which is not beneath but above the problematic of the 
relations between man and man, and which comprises, withstands, 
and overcomes all this problematic situation. A great relation exists 
only between real persons. It can be strong as death, because it is 
stronger than solitude, because it . . . throws a bridge from self- 
being to self-being across the abyss of dread of the universe.^ 

'Not before a man can say / in perfect reality — that is, finding himself,' 
writes Buber, *can he in perfect reality say Thou — that is, to God. And 
even if he does it in a community he can only do it "alone."' Yet the 
saying of Thou to God must include the saying of Thou to the world 
and to men. 

The real God lets no shorter line reach him than each man's 
longest, which is the line embracing the world that is accessible to 
this man. For he, the real God, is the creator, and all beings stand 
before him in relation to one another in his creation, becoming 
useful in living with one another for his creative purpose.^ 

The 'Single One' need not hold himself aloof from crowds. 'The Man 
who is living with the body politic ... is not bundled, but bound.' He 
is bound in relation to the destiny of the crowd and does what he can 
to change the crowd into Single Ones. He takes up into his life the other- 
ness which enshrouds him, but he takes it up 'only in the form of the 
other ... the other who meets him, who is sought, lifted out of the 
crowd, the "companion."' The Single One passes his life in the body 
politic, for the body politic is 'the reservoir of otherness' — 'the basic 
structure of otherness, in many ways uncanny but never quite unholy 
or incapable of being hallowed, in which I and the others who meet 
me in my life are inwoven.' * 

Thus Buber changes Kierkegaard's category of the Single One {'der 
Einzelne') into the man for whom the relation to God includes all other 
relations without curtailing them. The essence of this new category is 
responsibility, and responsibility, for Buber, means responding — 
hearing the unreduced claim of each particular hour in all its crudeness 

1 Ibid., p. 175. 

2 Ibid., The Education of Character,' p. 116 f. 

3 Ibid., 'The Question to the Single One,' pp. 43, 50, 52, 'What Is Man?', p. 171 f. 
* Ibid., 'The Question to the Single One,' pp. 61-65. 



and disharmony and answering it out of the depths of one's being. This 
responsibility does not exclude a man from membership in a group or 
community, but it means that true membership in a community includes 
a boundary to membership so that no group or person can hinder one's 
perception of what is spoken or one's answer from the ground of one's 
being. This perception is not an *inner light' from God that presents 
one the answer at the same time as the question. God tenders the 
situation, but the response comes from the 'conscience' — not the 
routine, surface, discredited conscience but 'the unknown conscience 
in the ground of being, which needs to be discovered ever anew.' Some- 
thing of God's grace enters into this response, to be sure, but man 
cannot measure the share of grace in the answer. '"Conscience" is 
human and can be mistaken, it is a thing of "fear and trembling," it 
can only try to hear.' ^ None the less, if one responds as a whole person, 
one can have confidence in one's response as one cannot have confidence 
in any objective knowledge or universal prescriptions of morality. 'What 
is here called person is the very person who is addressed and who 
answers.' The 'Hinderer,' or Satan, writes Buber, is the person who 
prompts one with an answer in such a way as to hinder one's recognizing 
the situation presented in 'the very ground where hearing passes into 
being.' ^ 

The 'Single One,' then, is the man whose aloneness means not only 
self-containment but a readiness to respond out of the depths of his 

I call a great character one who by his actions and attitudes 
satisfies the claim of situations out of deep readiness to respond 
with his whole life, and in such a way that the sum of his actions 
and attitudes expresses at the same time the unity of his being in 
its willingness to accept responsibility.^ 

This unity of being also means readiness again to become the Single One 
when I-Thou becomes I-It. The Single One 'must let himself be helped 
from time to time by an inner-wordly "monastery"' which will not tear 
him away from relation but will prepare him for new meeting: 

Our relations to creatures incessantly threaten to get incap- 
sulated. . . . Every great bond of man . . . defends itself vigorously 
against continually debouching into the infinite. Here the monastic 
forms of life in the world, the loneliness in the midst of life into 
which we turn as into hostelries, help us to prevent the connexion 

^ Between Man and Man, 'The Question to the Single One,' pp. 54, 65-69. The 
final quotation is from a letter of August 18, 1952, from Professor Buber to the 

2 Between Man and Man, The Question to the Single One,' p. 68 f. 

3 Ibid., The Education of Character,' p. 1 14. 


The Life of Dialogue 
between the conditioned bonds and the one unconditioned bond 
from slackening. . . . The loneliness must know the quality of 
strictness, of a monastery's strictness, in order to do its work. But 
it must never wish to tear us away from creatures, never refuse to 
dismiss us to them.^ 

To the extent that the soul achieves unification, it becomes aware of 
'direction' and of itself as sent in quest of it. This awareness of direction 
is ultimately identical with the awareness of one's created uniqueness, 
the special way to God that is realized in one's relations with the world 
and men. 

The humanly right is ever the service of the single person who 
realizes the right uniqueness purposed for him in his creation. In 
decision, taking the direction thus means: taking the direction 
toward the point of being at which, executing for my part the 
design which I am, I encounter the divine mystery of my created 
uniqueness, the mystery waiting for me.^ 

* Decision' is here both the current decision about the immediate situa- 
tion which confronts one and through this the decision with the whole 
being for God. 'In the reality of existence all the so diverse decisions 
are merely variations on a single one, which is continually made afresh 
in a single direction.' This single direction must itself be understood in 
a double sense as the direction toward the person purposed for one and 
the direction toward God. This dual understanding means nothing 
more than 'a duality of aspects' provided one understands by God 
something really other than oneself, the author of one's created unique- 
ness that cannot be derived from within the world. Direction is appre- 
hended through one's inner awareness of what one is meant to be, for 
it is this that enables one to make a genuine decision. This is a reciprocal 
process, however, for in transforming and directing one's undirected 
energies, one comes to recognize ever more clearly what one is meant 
to be.3 

One experiences one's uniqueness as a designed or preformed one, 
intrusted to one for execution, yet everything that affects one partici- 
pates in this execution. The person who knows direction responds with 
the whole of his being to each new situation with no other preparation 
than his presence and his readiness to respond. He is identical, therefore, 
with the Single One who becomes a whole person and goes out to rela- 
tion with the Thou. 'Direction is not meeting but going out to meet.' 
It is not identical with dialogue, but it is, along with personal wholeness, 
a prerequisite of any genuine dialogue. It is also a product of dialogue 

^ Ibid., 'The Question to the Single One,' p. 54 f. 

2 Images of Good and Evil, pp. 68, 82 f. {Good and Evil, pp. 127, 142). 

3 Ibid., p. 81 f. (p. 126 f.). 



in the sense that the awareness of direction comes into being only in 
the dialogue itself. One discovers the mystery waiting for one not in 
oneself but in the encounter with what one meets. Although *the one 
direction of the hour towards God . . . changes time and again by 
concretion,' each moment's new direction is the direction if reality is 
met in lived concreteness.^ 

The goal of creation that we are intended to fulfil is not an unavoid- 
able destiny but something to which we are called and to which we are 
free to respond or not to respond. Our awareness of this calling is not 
a sense of what we may become in terms of our position in society nor 
is it a sense of what type of person we should develop into. The purpose 
of my uniqueness may be felt more or less dimly, it cannot be sensed.' ^ 
Direction is neither conscious conception nor subconscious fantasy. It 
is the primal awareness of our unique way to God that lies at the very 
centre of our awareness of ourself as I. We cannot make direction more 
rationally comprehensible than this, for it is ultimately a mystery, even 
as are our freedom and our uniqueness to which it is integrally related. 

Closely related to Buber's concept of direction is the Biblical concept 
of emunah, or trust. Emunah is the perseverance of man 'in a hidden but 
self-revealing guidance.' This guidance does not relieve man of taking 
and directing his own steps, for it is nothing other than God's making 
known that He is present. Emunah is the realization of one's faith in 
the actual totality of one's relationships to God, to one's appointed 
sphere in the world, and to oneself. *By its very nature trust is substan- 
tiation of trust in the fulness of life in spite of the course of the world 
which is experienced.' ^ In this exclusion of a dualism between *life in 
the soul' and 'life in the world' emunah brings together the wholeness 
of the Single One, the 'direction' of the man of true decision, and the 
relation with the concrete of the dialogical man. 

He who lives the life of dialogue knows a lived unity: the unity of 
life, as that which once truly won is no more torn by any changes, 
not ripped asunder into the everyday creaturely life and the 'deified' 
exalted hours ; the unity of unbroken, raptureless perseverance in 
concreteness, in which the word is heard and a stammering answer 

The lived unity of the life of dialogue, born out of response to the 
essential mystery of the world, makes this response ever more possible. 

1 Images of Good and Evil,' p. 82; Letter of August 18, 1952 (see p. 94, n. 1 
above); Between Man and Man, 'The Question to the Single One,' p. 78 f. 

2 Letter of August 18, 1952. 

3 Two Types of Faith, pp. 40, 170; cf. Right and Wrong (Good and Evil), The 
Heart Determines, Psalm 73,' The Ways, Psalm 1.' 

* Between Man and Man, 'Dialogue,' p. 25. 


The Life of Dialogue 

The 'sphere of the between,' mutual confirmation, making the other 
present, overcoming appearance, genuine dialogue, experiencing the 
other side, personal wholeness, the Single One, responsibility, decision, 
direction, trust — these are all aspects of the life of dialogue. This life 
is a part of our birthright as human beings, for only through it can we 
attain authentic human existence. But this birthright cannot be simply 
inherited, it must be earned. We must follow Buber in not under- 
estimating the obstacles to the life of dialogue, but we must also foUow 
him in refusing to magnify them into an inexorable fate. 

The tendency toward appearance which mars the life of dialogue has 
its origin not only in the interdependence and need for confirmation 
that Buber has indicated, but also in the specific social structures that 
have arisen on this anthropological base: in the ordinary amenities of 
civilized life which make us habitually pretend toward others what we 
do not feel; in the institutionalization of social life which makes us tend 
to relate to others on the basis of our relative positions in these 
institutions; in the emphasis on prestige and authority which grows out 
of our social diff"erentiations ; in our inner divisions which make us 
unable to relate to others honestly because we cannot relate as whole 
persons; in our unawareness of the extent to which our values and 
attitudes arise, not from a genuine relation to truth, but from the social 
attitudes of the groups to which we belong. 

To emphasize the hold of appearance on our lives is to point out how 
difficult and also how important it is to become a 'Single One.' This is 
especially so if one understands by the Single One not Kierkegaard's 
man, who finds truth by separating himself from the crowd, but Buber's 
man of the narrow ridge, who lives with others yet never gives up his 
personal responsibility nor allows his commitment to the group to 
stand in the way of his direct relationship to the Thou. Another product 
of the narrow ridge, one equally essential to the life of dialogue, is the 
realistic trust which recognizes the strength of the tendency toward 
appearance yet stands ready to deal with the other as a partner and to 
confirm him in becoming his real self. This open-eyed trust is at base a 
trust in existence itself despite the difficulties we encounter in making 
our human share of it authentic. It is the trust, in Buber's words, that 
*man is, as man, redeemable.' 





B user's philosophy of dialogue is the source, ultimately, both for 
his answer to the question of what man is and to the problem of 
evil. It is entering into relation that makes man really man ; it is 
the failure to enter into relation that in the last analysis constitutes evil, 
or non-existence; and it is the re-establishment of relation that leads to 
the redemption of evil and genuine human existence. Thus at the heart 
of Buber's philosophy the problem of evil and the problem of man 
merge into one in the recognition of relation as the fundamental reahty 
of man's life. 

The dynamic of man, that which man as man has to fulfil, is un- 
thinkable without evil. Man first became man through being driven 
out of Paradise. Good and evil form together the body of the world. 
If man had simply to live in the good, then there would be no work 
of man. That work is : to make the broken world whole. Paradise 
is at the lower end of separateness, but in order that its upper part, 
the kingdom, the great peace and unification, come, evil is neces- 
sary Evil is the hardness which divides being from being, being 

from God. The act of decision, of breakthrough . . . that is the act 
through which man time and again participates in the redemption 
of the world.^ 

In the Preface to Images of Good and Evil Buber writes that he has 
been preoccupied with the problem of evil since his youth. It was not 
until the year following the First World War, however, that he 
approached it independently, and it is only in this, one of the very latest 
of his books, that he has achieved full maturity and clarity on the 
subject.^ The Yehudi in Buber's chronicle-novel reproaches the Seer of 

1 Quoted in Kohn, Martin Buber, op. cit., p. 308, from a course on the Tao Te 
ch'ing which Buber gave at Ascona in the summer of 1924 (my translation). 
^ Images of Good and Evil, p. 9. 


The Nature and Redemption of Evil 

Lublin for dwelling on Gog, the mythical incarnation of an external, 
metaphysical evil : 

*He can exist in the outer world only because he exists within us.* 
He pointed to his own breast. *The darkness out of which he was 
hewn needed to be taken from nowhere else than from our slothful 
and malicious hearts. Our betrayal of God has made Gog to grow 
so great.' ^ 

It is to this speech of the Yehudi's that Buber points in the Preface to 
Images of Good and Evil as the answer to the question of the point of 
attack for the struggle against evil.^ This point of attack must not be 
understood simply as man against what is not man but as what the 
individual knows from his own inner experience as against what he 
encounters outside of himself. 

*I certainly gain no experience of evil when I meet my fellow-man. 
For in that case I can grasp it only from without, estrangedly or 
with hatred and contempt, in which case it really does not enter my 
vision; or else, I overcome it with my love and in that case I have 
no vision of it either. I experience it when I meet myself.' ^ 

Man knows evil when he recognizes the condition in which he finds 
himself as the 'evil' and knows the condition he has thereby lost and 
cannot for the time being regain as the good. It is through this inner 
encounter alone that evil becomes accessible and demonstrable in the 
world; for *it exists in the world apart from man only in the form of 
quite general opposites,' embracing good and ill and good and bad as 
well as good and evil. The specific opposition good-evil is peculiar to 
man because it can only be perceived introspectively : 

A man only knows factually what 'evil' is in so far as he knows 
about himself, everything else to which he gives this name is merely 
mirrored illusion ; . . . self-perception and self-relationship are the 
peculiarly human, the irruption of a strange element into nature, 
the inner lot of man.* 

When the demon is encountered at the inner threshold, there is no 
longer any room for taking attitudes toward it : 'the struggle must now 
be fought out.' Despite the real diflSculty of this inner struggle, man can 
overcome temptation and turn back to God. For if evil, in Buber's 
conception, is rebellion against God with the power He has given man 
to do evil, good is the turning toward God with this same power. If 
evil is a lack of direction, good is a finding of direction, of the direction 
toward God. If evil is the predominance of I-It, good is the meeting 

^ For the Sake of Heaven, op. cit., p. 54. ^ Images, p. 11. 

^ For the Sake of Heaven, p. 57. * Images, pp. 21 f., 33. 


The Nature of Evil 
with the Thou, the permeation of I-It by I-Thou. Thus in each case 
good and evil are bound together as they could not be if evil were an 
independent substance with an existence of its own. 

Good and evil, then, cannot be a pair of opposites like right and 
left or above and beneath. *Good' is the movement in the direction 
of home, *evir is the aimless whirl of human potentialities without 
which nothing can be achieved and by which, if they take no direc- 
tion but remain trapped in themselves, everything goes awry.^ 

Good and evil are usually thought of as *two structurally similar 
qualities situated at opposite poles.' But this is because they are treated 
as ethical abstractions rather than as existent states of human reality. 
When one looks at them *in the factual context of the life of the human 
person,' one discovers their 'fundamental dissimilarity in nature, 
structure, and dynamics.' ^ 

Evil, for Buber, is both absence of direction and absence of relation, 
for relation and direction as he uses them are different aspects of the 
same reality. The man who cannot say Thou with his whole being to 
God or man may have *the sublime illusion of detached thought that he 
is a self-contained self; as man he is lost.' Similarly, the man who does 
not keep to the One direction as far as he is able may have *the life of the 
spirit, in all freedom and fruitfulness, all standing and status — existence 
there is none for him without it.' ^ 

The clearest illustration of the ultimate identity, for Buber, of evil as 
absence of direction and evil as absence of relation is his treatment of 
'conscience.' Conscience, to him, is the voice which calls a man to fulfil 
the personal intention of being for which he was created. It is *the 
individual's awareness of what he "really" is, of what in his unique and 
non-repeatable created existence he is intended to be.' Hence it implies 
both dialogue and direction — the dialogue of the person with an *other' 
than he now is which gives him an intimation of the direction he is 
meant to take. This presentiment of purpose is 'inherent in all men 
though in the most varied strengths and degrees of consciousness and 
for the most part stifled by them.' When it is not stifled, it compares 
what one is with what one is called to become and thereby distinguishes 
and decides between right and wrong. Through this comparison, also, 
one comes to feel guilt. 

Each one who knows himself ... as called to a work which he 
has not done, each one who has not fulfilled a task which he knows 
to be his own, each who did not remain faithful to his vocation 

1 Between Man and Man, 'The Question to the Single One,' p. 78 f. 
' Images, p. 62 f. 

' Between Man and Man, 'What Is Man?', p. 168; Images, p. 83. 


The Nature and Redemption of Evil 

which he had become certain of — each such person knows what 
it means to say that 'his conscience smites him.' ^ 

Guilt is the product of not taking the direction toward God. The 
guilty man is he who shuns the dialogue with God, and this means also 
he who does not enter into the dialogue with man and the world. 
* Original guilt consists in remaining with oneself.' If the being before 
whom this hour places one is not met with the truth of one's whole life, 
then one is guilty. 

Heidegger is right to say that ... we are able to discover a primal 
guilt. But we are not able to do this by isolating a part of life, the 
part where the existence is related to itself and to its own being, 
but by becoming aware of the whole life without reduction, the life 
in which the individual, in fact, is essentially related to something 
other than himself.^ 

The fact that one discovers guilt in relation with something other than 
oneself does not contradict the fact that one discovers evil first of all 
in the meeting with oneself. This meeting takes place only if one remains 
aware of the voice of conscience. The man who fails to face the evil 
within him or affirms it as good is precisely the man who remains with 
himself and suppresses his awareness of direction, his awareness of the 
address of God which comes to him from what is *other' than he. 

The specific structure of evil in the human person cannot be explained 
as a result of the *moral censorship' of society. 'There can be no question 
at all here of the psychology of "inhibitions" and "repressions," which 
operate no less against some social convention or other than when it is 
a matter of that which is felt to be evil in the full meaning of the word.' 
One's inner encounter with evil does not presuppose that 'self-analysis' 
of modem psychology which seeks to penetrate 'behind' the experience, 
*to "reduce" it to the real elements assumed to have been "repressed."' 
What is needed here, rather, is the technique of the philosophical 
anthropologist who first participates in the experience and then gains 
the distance indispensable for objective knowledge. 'Our business is to 
call to mind an occurrence as reliably, concretely and completely 
remembered as possible, which is entirely unreduced and undissected.' 
The state of evil is experienced within ourselves in such a way that 'its 
differentiation from every other state of the soul is unmistakable.' This 
experience leads us to inquire as to the existence of evil as an onto- 
logical reality.^ 

^ Eclipse of God, op. cit., 'Religion and Modem Thinking,' p. 115 f., 'Religion 
and Ethics,' p. 125 f. 

2 At the Turning, op. cit., p. 56; Between Man and Man, 'What Is Man?', p. 165 f. 

3 Images, pp. 59, 63 ff.; cf. Between Man and Man, 'What Is Man?', pp. 123-126. 


The Nature of Evil 

If this inquiry is to be successful, says Buber, it must make use of the 
truth found in the myths of the origin of evil. The experience which has 
taken place in countless factual encounters with evil has been directly 
embodied in these myths without passing through any conceptual form. 
Rightly interpreted, therefore, *they tell us of the human constitution 
and movement of evil' and of its relation to good. We can only interpret 
them rightly, however, if we accord to their account that manner of 
belief which comes from our personal experience of evil. *Only out of 
the conjunction of these two, primordial mythic intuition and directly 
experienced reality, does the light of the legitimate concept arise for 
this sphere too, probably the most obscure of all.' The concept which 
arises from this conjunction serves as an indispensable bridge between 
myth and reality which enables man to see the two together. Without 
it man 'listens to the myth of Lucifer and hushes it up in his own life.' ^ 

The myths that Buber interprets in Images of Good and Evil are the 
Biblical and the Zoroastrian, for, in his opinion, 'these correspond with 
two fundamentally different kinds and stages of evil.' He portrays the 
first of these stages, decisionlessness, through an interpretation of the 
myths of Adam and Eve, Cain, and the Flood. When Adam and Eve take 
the fruit, they do not make a decision between good and evil but rather 
imagine possibilities of action and then act almost without knowing it, 
sunk in 'a strange, dreamlike kind of contemplation.' Cain, similarly, 
does not decide to kill Abel — he does not even know what death and 
killing are. Rather he intensifies and confirms his indecision. Tn the 
vortex of indecision ... at the point of greatest provocation and least 
resistance,' he strikes out. Man grasps at every possibility 'in order to 
overcome the tension of omnipossibility' and thus makes incarnate a 
reality which is 'no longer divine but his, his capriciously constructed, 
indestinate reality.' It is this, in the story of the Flood, which causes God 
to repent of having made man. The wickedness of man's actions does 
not derive from a corruption of the soul but from the intervention of 
the evil 'imagery.' This imagery is a 'play with possibility,' a 'self- 
temptation, from which ever and again violence springs.' The place of 
the real, perceived fruit is taken by a possible, devised, fabricated one 
which can be and finally is made into the real one. Imagination, or 
'imagery,' is not entirely evil, however. It is man's greatest danger and 
greatest opportunity, a power which can be left undirected or directed 
to the good. It is in this understanding of imagery that the Talmudic 
doctrine of the two 'urges' originated. Yetser, the Biblical word for 
'imagery,' is identical, in fact, with the Tahnudic word for the evil and 
good urges. The 'evil urge' is especially close to the 'imagery of man's 
heart' which the Bible speaks of as 'evil from his youth,' for it is 
identical with 'passion, that is, the power peculiar to man, without 
1 Images, pp. 57-60, 12. 

The Nature and Redemption of Evil 

which he can neither beget nor bring forth, but which, left to itself, 
remains without direction and leads astray.' ^ 

Man becomes aware of possibility, writes Buber, 'in a period of 
evolution which generally coincides with puberty without being tied to 
it.' This possibility takes the form of possible actions which threaten 
to submerge him in their swirling chaos. To escape from this dizzy 
whirl the soul either sets out upon the difficult path of bringing itself 
toward unity or it clutches at any object past which the vortex happens 
to carry it and casts its passion upon it. In this latter case, *it exchanges 
an undirected possibility for an undirected reality, in which it does what 
it wills not to do, what is preposterous to it, the alien, the "evil."' It 
breaks violently out of the state of undirected surging passion 'wherever 
a breach can be forced' and enters into a pathless maze of pseudo- 
decision, a 'flight into delusion and ultimately into mania.' Evil, then, 
is lack of direction and what is done in and out of it : 'the grasping, 
seizing, devouring, compelling, seducing, exploiting, humiliating, 
torturing and destroying of what offers itself.' It is not an action, for 
'action is only the type of evil happening which makes evil manifest.' 
The evil itself lies in the intention: 'The project of the sin and the 
reflecting upon it and not its execution is the real guilt.' ^ 

Evil is not the result of a decision, for true decision is not partial but 
is made with the whole soul. 'Evil cannot be done with the whole soul; 
good can only be done with the whole soul.' There can be no wholeness 
'where downtrodden appetites lurk in the corners' or where the soul's 
highest forces watch the action, 'pressed back and powerless, but shining 
in the protest of the spirit.' ^ The absence of personal wholeness is a 
complement, therefore, to the absence of direction and the absence of 
relation. If one does not become what one is meant to be, if one does 
not set out in the direction of God, if one does not bring one's scattered 
passions under the transforming and unifying guidance of direction, 
then no wholeness of the person is possible. Conversely, without 
attaining personal wholeness, one can neither keep to direction nor 
enter into full relation. 

Buber portrays the second stage of evil, the actual decision to evil, 
through an interpretation of the Zoroastrian myths found in the Avesta 
and in post-Avestic literature. Here we meet good and evil as primal 
moving spirits set in real opposition to one another, and here, for the 
first time, evil assumes a substantial and independent nature. In the 
hymns of Zoroaster God's primal act is a decision within himself which 
prepares and makes possible the self-choice of good and evil by which 
each is first rendered effectual and factual. Created man, similarly, finds 

^ Images, pp. 13-42. 

2 Ibid., pp. 66-73, 80; Two Types of Faith, op. cit., p. 64 f. 

' Images, p. 70 f. 


The Nature of Evil 
himself ever again confronted by the necessity of distinguishing decep- 
tion from truth and deciding between them. The primal spirits stand 
between God and man and like them choose between good and evil. 
But in the case of Ahriman, the evil spirit, this choice takes place in 
pure paradox since in choosing he acknowledges himself precisely as 
the evil. 

This paradox is developed further in the saga of the primeval king 
Yima, who assumes dominion over the worid at the bidding of the 
highest God, Ahura Mazdah. After a flood similar to the Biblical one, 
Yima lets loose the demons whom he has hitherto held in check and 
allows the lie to enter through lauding and blessing himself. Yima's lie 
is 'the primal lie . . . of humanity as a whole which ascribes the conquest 
of the power of nature to its own superpower.' It is the existential lie 
against being in which man sees himself as a self-creator. Man chooses 
in decisive hours between being-true and being-false, between 
strengthening, covering, and confirming being at the point of his own 
existence or weakening, desecrating, and dispossessing it. He who 
chooses the lie in preference to the truth intervenes directly in the 
decisions of the world-conflict. *But this takes eff'ect in the very first 
instance at just his point of being' : by giving himself over to non-being 
which poses as being, he falls victim to it. Thus Yima falls into the 
power of the demons whose companion he has become and is destroyed 
by them. 

Corresponding to the myth of Yima's rebellion and of his self- 
deification and fall are the Old Testament stories of the tower of Babel 
and of the foolhardy angels, such as Lucifer (Isa. xiv), who imagined 
themselves godlike and were cast down. Similarly, good and evil appear 
again and again in the Old Testament, as in the Avesta, as alternative 
paths before which man stands and which he must choose between as 
between life and death (Deut. xxx, 19). The human reality corresponding 
to the myths of Ahriman's choice and Lucifer's downfall, writes Buber, 
can only be understood through our own observations, supplemented 
by historical and biographical literature. These give us some insight 
into the crises of the self which make the person's psychic dynamic 
secretive and obdurate and lead him into the actual decision to evil. 

This second stage of evil as decision follows from the first stage of 
evil as indecision. The repeated experiences of indecision merge in self- 
knowledge into *a course of indecision,' a fixation in it. *As long as the 
will to simple self-preservation dominates that to being-able-to-affirm 
oneself,' this self-knowledge is repressed. But when the will to afl&rm 
oneself asserts itself, man calls himself in question. Buber explains the 
crisis of the self which results from this questioning through a develop- 
ment of his philosophical anthropology. For this anthropology man is 
the creature of possibility who needs confirmation by others and by 


The Nature and Redemption of Evil 

himself in order that he may be and become the particular man that he 
is. 'Again and again the Yes must be spoken to him ... to liberate him 
from the dread of abandonment, which is a foretaste of death.' One 
can in a pinch do without confirmation from others, but not that of one- 
self. When a person's self-knowledge demands inner rejection, he either 
falls into a pathologically fragile and intricate relationship to himself, 
readjusts self-knowledge through that extreme effort of unification 
called 'conversion,' or displaces his knowledge of himself by an absolute 
self-afl&rmation. In this last case, the image of what he is intended to be 
is totally extinguished, and in its place he wills or chooses himself just 
as he is, just as he has resolved to intend himself This self-affirmation 
in no sense means real personal wholeness but just its opposite — a 
crystallized inner division. *They are recognizable, those who dominate 
their own self-knowledge, by the spastic pressure of the Ups, the spastic 
tension of the muscles of the hand and the spastic tread of the foot.' 

The man who thus affirms himself resembles Yima, who proclaims 
himself his own creator. It is in this light too that we can understand 
the paradoxical myth of the two spirits, one of whom chose evil precisely 
as evil. The *wicked' spirit, in whom evil is already present in a nascent 
state, has to choose between the affirmation of himself and the affirma- 
tion of the order which establishes good and evil. *If he affirms the order 
he must himself become "good," and that means he must deny and 
overcome his present state of being. If he affirms himself he must deny 
and reverse the order.' The 'good' is now just that which he is, for he 
can no longer say no to anything that is his. This absolute self-affirma- 
tion is the lie against being, for through it truth is no longer what he 
experiences as truth but what he ordains to be true.^ 

In 'Imitatio Dei,' Buber says that Adam's fall consisted in his wanting 
to reach the likeness to God intended for him in his creation by other 
means than that of the imitation of the unknown God. This substitution 
of self-deification for the 'imitation of God' lies at the heart not only 
of the fall of Adam but also that of Yima. In Adam's case, however, it 
is a matter of 'becoming-like-God' through knowing good and evil, 
whereas in Yima's it is a matter of 'being-like-God' through pro- 
claiming oneself as the creator both of one's existence and of the values 
by which that existence is judged. The first stage of evil does not yet 
contain a 'radical evil' since the misdeeds which are committed in it are 
slid into rather than chosen as such. But in the second stage evil becomes 
radical because there man wills what he finds in himself. He affirms 
what he has time and again recognized in the depths of self-awareness 
as that which should be negated and thereby gives evil 'the substantial 
character which it did not previously possess.' 'If we may compare the 
occurrence of the first stage to an eccentric whirling movement, the 
1 Images, pp. 43-56, 60 f., 73-79. 

The Nature of Evil 

process of the freezing of flowing water may serve as a simile to illustrate 
the second.' ^ 

In his interpretation of Psalm 1 in Right and Wrong, Buber makes an 
essential distinction between the * wicked' man and the * sinner' corres- 
ponding to the two stages of evil which we have discussed. The sinner 
misses God's way again and again while the wicked opposes it. * Sinner' 
describes a condition which from time to time overcomes a man without 
adhering to him, whereas *wicked' describes a kind of man, a persistent 
disposition. The sinner does evil, the wicked man is evil. That is why 
it is said only of the wicked, and not of the sinners, that their way 
vanishes . . .' Although the sinner is not confirmed by the human 
community, he may be able to stand before God, and even entry into 
the human community is not closed to him if he carries out that turning 
into God's way which he desires in the depths of his heart. The 'wicked,' 
in contrast, does not 'stand' in the judgment before God. His way is his 
own judgment: since he has negated his existence, he ends in nothing. 
Does this mean that the way of God is closed to the wicked man? Tt 
is not closed from God's side . . . but it is closed from the side of the 
wicked themselves. For in distinction to the sinners they do not wish 
to be able to turn.' Here there arises for us the question of how an evil 
will c^n exist when God exists. To this question, says Buber, no human 
word knows the answer: The abyss which is opened by this question 
advances still more uncannily than the abyss of Job's question into the 
darkness of the divine mystery.' ^ 

Although Buber's distinction between the two stages of evil did not 
reach its mature form until 1951, a much greater emphasis on the 
reality of evil is evident in his works since 1940 than in his earlier 
writings. In Moses (1944) we find a new emphasis on the demonic, one 
which in no way conflicts, however, with the conception of God as the 
ultimate source of both good and evil. A further step in the direction 
of radical evil is indicated by the story of Korah's rebellion. Korah's 
assertion that the people are already holy is the choice of evil, the 
choice of the people to follow the wrong path of their hearts and reject 
the way of God. This rebellion of the Korahites seems all the more evil 
since we are told that it is precisely Moses' humility, his fundamental 
faith in spontaneity and in freedom, which provokes the 'Korahite' re- 
action among men of the Korah type. Nor is Moses able to transform 
this evil into good; he can only extirpate it: 

Since, however, his whole work, the Covenant between God and 
people, is threatened, he must now doom the rebels to destruction, 
just as he once ordered Levites to fight against Levites. There is 

1 Israel and the World, op. cit., p. 73; Images, pp. 62, 80 f. 

2 Good and Evil, 'Right and Wrong,' 'The Ways, Psalm 1,' pp. 51 f., 58 ff. 


The Nature and Redemption of Evil 

certainly something sinister underlying the legend of the earth 
which opened its mouth and swallowed up the rebels. 

Although 'here the eternal word is opposed by eternal contradiction,' 
this is not to be understood as a metaphysical statement implying the 
absolute and independent reality of evil. It is rather the 'tragedy of 
Moses,' who cannot redeem the evil of Korah because 'men are as they 
are.' ^ It is the tragedy of 'the cruel antitheticalness of existence itself,' ^ 
the tragedy implicit in man's misuse of the freedom which was given 
him in his creation. 

Closely similar to Korah's antinomian revolt in the name of divine 
freedom is that of the two self-proclaimed Messiahs of the seventeenth 
and eighteenth centuries, Sabbatai Zevi and Jacob Frank. Buber's 
distinction between these two men in an essay written between 1940 
and 1943 contains the seed of his later distinction between evil as 
decisionlessness and evil as self-affirmation. Sabbatai Zevi clearly 
believes in something absolute and in himself in relation to it. When 
he becomes an apostate to escape martyrdom, 'it is not the belief as 
such but his belief in himself that does not stand firm.' Frank beheves 
in nothing, not even in himself. He is not a liar but a lie, and 'he can 
only believe in himself after the manner of the lie by filling the space of 
the nothing with himself.' As a result he knows no inner restraint, and 
his very freedom from restraint gives him a magical influence over his 
followers. When, however, his nihilistic belief in himself is threatened 
by the crisis of self-reflection, it must draw nourishment from 'the warm 
flesh and blood of the belief of others in him,' or else it would cease to 
exist. His group of disciples with its orgies and raptures and its un- 
conditioned self-surrender 'to a leader who leads it into nothing' aff'ords 
'an unsurpassable spectacle of disintegration.' 'The abyss has opened,' 
writes Buber in an historical present that strongly suggests the real 
present as well. 'It is no more allowed to any man to live as if evil did 
not exist. One cannot serve God by merely avoiding evil; one must 
grapple with it.' ^ 

There is undoubtedly a close relation between Buber's growing 
tendency to ascribe reality to evil and the events of the past decades — 
in particular, the Nazi's persecution of the Jews, the Second World War, 
and the war in Palestine ('for me the most grievous of the three [wars]' *). 
In the case of Nazism this connection is made explicit in Buber's com- 
parison of Jacob Frank with Hitler. 'It is significant,' writes Buber, 
'that it is in our time that the man has arisen in whom the tension 

1 Martin Buber, Moses (Oxford: East & West Library, 1946), pp. 56-59, 184-190. 

2 For the Sake of Heaven, 2nd Edition, op. cit.. Foreword, p. x. 

' Hasidism, op. cit., 'The Beginnings of Hasidism,' pp. 10 ff., 25 f., 29 f. 
* Two Types of Faith, p. 15. 


The Nature of Evil 
between what one is and what one should be is dissolved — the man 
without conscience. The secret of Hitler's efifectiveness lies, in fact, in 
his complete and fundamental absence of restraint.' The only person in 
an earlier age whom Buber can find to compare to Hitler is Jacob Frank, 
for only these two believed in nothing else than their own power. Such 
a belief in oneself is ordinarily only possible to one who feels himself in 
the fullest sense of the term commissioned and empowered by the 
absolute. Those who do not believe in any absolute cannot believe in 
this sense in the self, but the absence of restraint is accompanied by the 
natural ability and perfected readiness to avoid that reflection on one- 
self that would make one's own emptiness apparent.^ 

Does this new emphasis on a 'radical' and 'substantive' evil mean 
that we can no longer place Buber in that middle position which regards 
evil as real but redeemable, thus refusing to ascribe to it an absolute 
and independent reality? Does Buber's use of the Iranian myths, the 
most important historical fountainhead of dualism, not only serve to 
illustrate an anthropological reality but also imply a dualistic meta- 
physics? Images of Good and Evil itself supplies the answer to our ques- 
tion. Buber makes it clear there that it is not man's nature which is evil 
but only his use of that nature. There are, to be sure, wicked men whose 
end is non-existence — this accords with the simple facts — but there are 
no men whom God cuts off as simply evil and therefore by nature 
hostile to His purpose. If some men bring evil to a 'radical' stage where 
it possesses a substantial quality, this does not mean that evil is here 
independent and absolute, nor even ultimately unredeemable, but only 
that it has crystallized into a settled opposition by the individual to 
becoming what he is meant to become. 'Good . . . retains the character 
of direction at both stages,' writes Buber, indicating clearly that there 
is a good for the second stage even as for the first.^ 

Further evidence that Buber has not left the narrow ridge in his 
attitude toward evil is his discussion of 'God's will to harden' in Two 
Types of Faith (1950). On the three occasions when the Old Testament 
speaks of God as 'hardening the heart' of a person or people, it is 
because of his or their persistent turning away. The hardening comes in 
an extreme situation as a consequence of perversion 'and . . . dreadfully 
enough . . . makes the going-astray into a state of having gone-astray 
from which there is no returning.' 'Sin is not an undertaking which man 
can break off when the situation becomes critical,' Buber explains, 'but 
a process started by him, the control of which is withdrawn from him 
at a fixed moment.' ^ 

^Martin Buber, Pointing the Way, op. cit., 'People and Leader,' pp. 151-156, 
158 ff. 
'Zma^e^, pp. 36, 73, 81 flf. 
' Two Types of Faith, pp. 83-90. 


The Nature and Redemption of Evil 

The ^special strength to persevere in sin' which God grants the sinner 
when He *hardens' his heart is a counterpart, we may surmise, of that 
absolute self-affirmation with which the 'wicked' closes himself off from 
God. God will not abridge the freedom which He has given man in 
creation, and therefore He allows this process of closing off to take 
place. His 'hardening' is His response to man's decision against Him. 
It is at once the judgment with which He confirms the wicked in his 
non-existence and the 'severe grace' with which He points out to him 
the one road back to real existence. 

Even in the dark hour after he has become guilty against his 
brother, man is not abandoned to the forces of chaos. God Himself 
seeks him out, and even when he comes to call him to account, His 
coming is salvation.^ 

God remains open to man's turning, but for the man whose way has 
vanished nothing less than a 'conversion' — a turning of the whole being 
— will suffice. 

Despite the importance in Buber's recent thought of such terms as 
contradiction, tragedy, eclipse of God, and 'radical evil,' he remains 
essentially different from even the least extreme of the dualists. His 
affirmation of the oneness of God and the ultimate oneness of God and 
the world has deepened in its paradoxical quality as he has taken more 
and more realistic cognizance of the evil of the world, but it has not 
wavered or weakened. The great significance, indeed, of that second 
stage of evil which is the newest development in Buber's thought is its 
concrete base in human existence which makes understandable such 
extreme phenomena as Hitler and the Nazis without resorting to the 
dogma of original sin or agreeing with Sartre's assertion that the events 
of recent years make it necessary to recognize evil as absolute and 

1 At the Turning, p. 56. 



THE absolute affirmation of the self in the second stage of evil is 
an extreme form of man's hiding from the 'signs' which address 
him. A more common form of cutting oneself off from dialogue 
is the action of the man who 'masters' each situation or approaches it 
with a formulated technique or programme. Another is the various types 
of *once for all' which make unnecessary the 'ever anew' of real response 
to the unique situation which confronts one in each hour. This false 
security prevents us from making our relationships to others real 
through opening ourselves to them and thereby leads us to 'squander 
the most precious, irreplaceable and irrecoverable material' of life. It 
also prevents us from making real our relationship to God, for the 
meeting with God takes place in the 'lived concrete,' and lived concrete- 
ness exists only in so far as the moment retains its true dialogical 
character of presentness and uniqueness.^ 

The logical and dialectical God of the theologians — the God who can 
be put into a system, enclosed in an idea, or thought about philo- 
sophically as 'a state of being in which all ideas are absorbed' — is not 
the God who can be met in the lived concrete. The 'once for all' of 
dogma resists the unforeseeable moment and thereby becomes 'the most 
exalted form of invulnerability against revelation.' 'Centralization and 
codification, undertaken in the interests of religion, are a danger to the 
core of religion, unless there is the strongest life of faith, embodied in 
the whole existence of the community, and not relaxing in its renewing 
activity.' ^ 

It is only one step from dogma to 'magic,' for a God that can be 
fixed in dogma can also be possessed and used. 'Always and everywhere 

1 Between Man and Man, 'Dialogue,' p. 16, 'What Is Man?', p. 170; Eclipse of 
God, op. cit., 'Religion and Philosophy,' p. 49. 

2 Between Man and Man, 'The Question to the Single One,' p. 57 f. ; Israel and the 
World, op. cit., 'The Love of God and the Idea of Deity,' p. 53 ; Kampf um Israel, 
op. cit., p. 203 f.; Between Man and Man, 'Dialogue,' p. 18; The Prophetic Faith, 
op. cit., p. 70. 


The Nature and Redemption of Evil 

in the history of religion, the fact that God is identified with success is 
the greatest obstacle to a steadfast religious life.' Magic operates where- 
ever one celebrates rites *without being turned to the Thou and . . . 
really meaning its Presence.' In magic God becomes a bundle of 
powers, present at man's command and in the form in which man 
wishes them.^ 

As a step in one direction leads from dogma to magic, a step in 
another leads to *gnosis,' the attempt to raise the veil which divides the 
revealed from the hidden and to lead forth the divine mystery. Gnosis, 
like magic, stands as the great threat to dialogical life and to the turning 
to God. Gnosis attempts to see through the contradiction of existence 
and free itself from it, rather than endure the contradiction and redeem 
it. Buber illustrates this contrast through a comparison between 
Hasidism and the Kabbalah. 

The whole systematic structure of the Kabbalah is determined by 
a principle of certitude which hardly ever stops short, hardly ever 
cowers with terror, hardly ever prostrates itself. Hasidic piety, on 
the other hand, finds its real life just in stopping short, in letting 
itself be disconcerted, in its deep-seated knowledge of the impotence 
of all ready-made knowledge, of the incongruity of all acquired 
truth, in the 'holy insecurity.' ^ 

This gnosis is not found in the modern world in theosophies and occult 
systems alone. 'In many theologies also, unveiling gestures are to be 
discovered behind the interpreting ones.' Gnosis has even found its way 
into modern psychotherapy through the teachings of Carl Jung: 

The psychological doctrine which deals with mysteries without 
knowing the attitude of faith toward mystery is the modern mani- 
festation of Gnosis. Gnosis is not to be understood as only a 
historical category, but as a universal one. It — and not atheism, 
which annihilates God because it must reject the hitherto existing 
images of God — is the real antagonist of the reality of faith.^ 

Concern with revelation of the future, the attempt to get behind the 
problematic of life, the desire to possess or use divine power, the 

^ Moses, op. cit.y pp. 88, 185; Eclipse of God, 'God and the Spirit of Man,' trans, 
by Maurice S. Friedman, p. 161 f.; Israel and the World, The Faith of Judaism,' 
pp. 21-24; Hasidism, 'Spirit and Body of the Hasidic Movement,' p. 79, 'Symbolical 
and Sacramental Existence in Judaism,' p. 142 f. Cf. Moses, p. 22 f. for Buber's 
contrast between 'technical magic' and 'magic of spontaneity.' 

2 Israel and the World, 'The Faith of Judaism,' pp. 21-24, 'The Two Foci of the 
Jewish Soul,' p. 31 f. ; Eclipse of God, 'God and the Spirit of Man,' p. 162; Hasidism, 
'Symbolical Existence in Judaism,' p. 141 f. 

^ Eclipse of God, 'God and the Spirit of Man,' p. 162, 'Reply to C. G. Jung,* 
p. 175 f. 


The Eclipse of God 
acceptance of tradition and law as a 'once for all' in which one can take 
refuge — all these prevent the meeting with God in the lived concrete. 
Even the beUef in immortaUty may be a threat to the relation of faith, 
for by making death appear unreal or unserious, it may hinder our 
recognition of the Umits of finitude as the threshold of Eternity.^ 
Similarly, the very symbols which man uses to address God often stand 
in the way of that address. 

The religious reality of the meeting with the Meeter . . . knows 
only the presence of the Present One. Symbols of Him, whether 
images or ideas, always exist first when and in so far as Thou 
becomes He, and that means It. 

*God, so we may surmise, does not despise all these similarly and 
necessarily untrue images, but rather suffers that one look at Him 
through them.' But there inevitably comes a time when the symbol, 
instead of enabling men to enter into relation with God, stands in the 
way of that relation.^ 

The philosopher helps restore the lived concrete to the religious man 
through destroying the images which no longer do justice to God. But 
the 'pure idea,' which he raises to the throne of reality in their place, 
also stands between man and God. Philosophy begins with 'the primary 
act of abstraction,' that 'inner action in which man lifts himself above 
the concrete situation into the sphere of precise conceptualization.' 
The concepts which man develops in this sphere 'no longer serve as a 
means of apprehending reality, but instead represent as the object of 
thought Being freed from the limitations of the actual.' From the lived 
togetherness of I and It, philosophy abstracts the I into a subject which 
can do nothing but observe and reflect and the It into a passive object 
of thought. The 'God of the philosophers,' in consequence, is a concep- 
tually comprehensible thing among things, and no longer a living God 
who can be the object of imagination, wishes, and feelings. Nor is this 
situation changed by the special place which philosophy gives the 
absolute as the object from which all other objects are derived, or as 
'Speech' {Logos), 'the Unlimited,' or simply 'Being.' 'Philosophy is 
grounded on the presupposition that one sees the absolute in universals.' 
As a result philosophy must necessarily deny, or at the very least turn 
away from, the reality on which religion is grounded, 'the covenant of 
the absolute with the particular, with the concrete.' ^ 

1 For the Sake of Heaven^ op. ciL, p. 238 f.; Martin Buber, 'Nach dem Tod,' 
MUnchener Neuesten Nachrichten, February 8, 1928. 

2 Eclipse of God, 'ReUgion and PhUosophy,' p. 62 f., 'The Love of God and the 
Idea of Deity,' p. 84. 

3 Ibid, 'Religion and Philosophy,' pp. 44 f., 53-63, 'Religion and Reality,' 
p. 28. 


The Nature and Redemption of Evil 

Both the philosophizing and the religious person wonder at pheno- 
mena, says Buber, but *the one neutralizes his wonder in ideal know- 
ledge, while the other abides in that wonder.* ^ When man has felt at 
home in the universe, his thought about himself has only been a part of 
his cosmological thought. But when man has felt himself shut in by a 
strict and inescapable solitude, his thinking about himself has been 
deep and fruitful and independent of cosmology. Buber criticizes 
Aristotle, Aquinas, and Hegel because in their systems of thought man 
attains to consciousness of himself only in the third person. Man is no 
longer problematic for himself, and the wonder at man is simply wonder 
at the universe as a whole. Hegel's theoretical certainty is derived from 
his incorporation of cosmological rather than actual human time into 
the groundwork of his image of the universe. 'Cosmological time* is 
abstract and relativized. In it all the future can appear theoretically 
present. 'Anthropological time,* in contrast, has reality only in the past. 
Since the future depends in part on man's consciousness and will, on 
decisions which have not yet taken place, no certainty of the future is 
possible within the boundaries of the human world. Marx takes over 
Hegel's cosmological time to provide the proletariat the security of an 
assured victory in the future. This security, like Hegel's, is a false one 
since it ignores man's powers of decisions. *It depends on the direction 
and force of this power how far the renewing powers of life as such are 
able to take efifect, and even whether they are not transformed into 
powers of destruction.* ^ 

The submersion of the dialogical life by the *once for all' of gnosis, 
theology, philosophy, and social doctrine is only a part of a larger 
development of civilization. All great civilizations at their early stages 
are 'life-systems' built up around a supreme principle which pervades 
the entire existence of the group. This principle is at once a religious 
and a normative one since it implies a concrete attachment of human 
life to the Absolute and an attempt to bring order and meaning into 
earthly existence through the imitation of transcendent Being. All 
spheres of being are essentially determined by the relationship to this 
principle. In proportion to the development of its specific forms, how- 
ever, every civilization strives increasingly to become independent of 
its principle. 

In the great Western civilizations, this manifests itself partly by 
their individual spheres isolating themselves and each of them 
establishing its own basis and order, and partly by the principle 
itself losing its absolute character and validity, so that the holy 
norm degenerates into a himian convention, or by the attachment 

^ Moses, p. 75. 

* Between Man and Man, pp. 126-129, 131 f., 139-145. 


The Eclipse of God 
to the absolute being reduced, avowedly or unavowedly, to a mere 
symbolic-ritual requirement, which may be adequately satisfied in 
the cultic sphere.^ 

Once the spheres have become independent of the original principle 
of the civilization, 'religion' no longer means just the whole of one's 
existence in its relation to the Absolute but a special domain of dogma 
and cult. *The original evil of all "religion,"' writes Buber, is *the separa- 
tion of "living in God" from "living in the world.'" This separated 
religion is man's greatest danger whether it manifests itself in the form 
of a cult in which sacramental forms are independent of everyday life 
or of a soul detached from life in devotional rapture and solitary relation 
with God. The sacrament . . . misleads the faithful into feeling secure 
in a merely "objective" consummation without any personal participa- 
tion.' In such a service the real partner of the communion is no longer 
present. Similarly, when the soul cuts itself off from the world, God is 
displaced by a figment of the soul itself: the dialogue which the soul 
thinks it is carrying on *is only a monologue with divided roles.' ^ 

This dualism between the life of the spirit and the life of the world 
was already present in biblical Judaism, but it gained still greater 
ground in Christianity because of the latter's surrender of the concept 
of a *holy people' for that of personal holiness. 'Those who believed in 
Christ possessed at every period a twofold being: as individuals in the 
realm of the person and as participants in the public life of their nations.' 
Although 'in the history of Christian peoples there has been no lack of 
men of the spirit afire and ready for martyrdom in the struggle for 
righteousness,' the norm of realizing the religion in all aspects of social 
existence can no longer occupy a central place. As a result it is made 
easy for the secular law to gain ever more ground at the expense of 
the religious. At the point at which the public sphere encroaches 
disastrously on the personal, as it does in our time, 'the disparity 
between the sanctification of the individual and the accepted unholiness 
of his conmiunity' is transferred to an inner contradiction in the 
redeemed soul.^ 

The apocalyptic element in religion also tends to lead to a dualism 
between the secular and the religious. The eschatological expectation 
of the imminent rule of God leads to a desire to do away with law in 
the name of the divine freedom which is or will be directly present in 
all creatures without need of law or representation. As soon as this 
expectation slackens, 'it follows historically that God's rule is restricted 

1 At the Turning, op. cit., 'Judaism and Civilization,' pp. 11-15. 

2 Hasidism, 'Spinoza,' pp. 104, 99 f., 'Symbolical Existence in Judaism,' p. 132. 

3 Eclipse of God, 'Religion and Ethics,' pp. 138-141; Two Types of Faith, op. cit., 
p. 173. 


The Nature and Redemption of Evil 

to the "religious'* sphere, everything that is left over is rendered unto 
Caesar; and the rift which runs through the whole being of the human 
world receives its sanction.' This dualism enters deeply into Paul's 
essentially Gnostic view of the world. It is also found in Judaism, where 
the autochthonous prophetic belief is opposed by an apocalyptic one 
built up out of elements from Iranian dualism. The one 'promises a 
consummation of creation,' the other 'its abrogation and supersession 
by another world completely different in nature.' 

The prophetic allows 'the evil' to find the direction that leads 
toward God, and to enter into the good ; the apocalyptic sees good 
and evil severed forever at the end of days, the good redeemed, the 
evil unredeemable for all eternity; the prophetic believes that the 
earth shall be hallowed, the apocalyptic despairs of an earth which 
it considers to be hopelessly doomed. . . } 

The prophetic and Hasidic belief in the hallowing of the earth also 
stands in contrast to the pagan world's glorification of the elemental 
forces and the Christian world's conquest of them. Christianity, through 
its ascetic emphasis, desanctified the elemental and created a world 
alien to spirit and a spirit alien to world. 'Even when Christianity 
includes the natural life in its sacredness, as in the sacrament of 
marriage, the bodily life is not hallowed, but merely made subservient 
to holiness.' The result has been a split between the actual and the ideal, 
between life as it is lived and life as it should be lived.^ 

All historical religion must fight the tendency of metaphysics, gnosis, 
magic, and politics to become independent of the religious life of the 
person, and it must also fight the tendency of myth and cult to aid 
them in this attempt. What is threatened by these extra-religious ele- 
ments is the lived concrete — the moment 'in its unforeseeableness and 
. . . irrecoverableness ... its undivertible character of happening but 
once.' The lived concrete is also threatened by those religious elements 
that destroy the concreteness of the memory of past moments of meeting 
with God that have been preserved in religious tradition — theology, 
which makes temporal facts into timeless symbols, and mysticism, 
which dilutes and weakens the images of memory by proclaiming all 
experience accessible at once.^ 

In the modem world the moment is expropriated and dispossessed 
in four different ways. Through the historicizing of the moment it is 
regarded as a pure product of the past. Through the technicizing of the 
moment it is treated as purely a means to a goal and hence as existing 

1 Moses, p. 188; Israel and the World, 'The Two Foci of the Jewish Soul,' p. 36. 

2 Israel and the World, 'The Power of the Spirit,' pp. 176-179. 

3 Eclipse of God, 'Rehgion and Philosophy,' p. 48 f. ; Martin Buber, 'Religion 
und Philosophie,' Europdische Revue, Berlin, V (August 1929), p. 330 f. 


The Eclipse of God 
only in the future. Through the psychologizing of the moment its total 
content is reflected upon and reduced to a process or experience of the 
soul. Through the philosophizing of the moment it is abstracted from 
its reality. Modern life is divided into levels and aspects. Modem man 
enjoys erotic, aesthetic, political, and religious experiences indepen- 
dently of one another. As a result, religion is for him only one aspect 
of his life rather than its totality. The men of the Bible were sinners 
like us, says Buber, but they did not commit the arch sin of professing 
God in the synagogue and denying him in the sphere of economics, 
politics, and the *self-assertion' of the group. Nor did they believe it 
possible to be honest and upright in private life and to lie in public for 
the sake of the commonwealth.^ 

The dualistic character of our age is shown particularly clearly in its 
relation to work. In times when the relation with the Absolute enters 
into every sphere of existence men see meaning in their work, but in 
times like ours when life is divided into separate spheres men experience 
work as an inescapable compulsion. The nature of work itself is per- 
verted in the modern world by the divorce of technical means from 
value ends, I-It from I-Thou. The modem industrial worker has to 
perform meaningless and mechanical work because of an inhuman 
utilization of human power without regard to the worthiness of the work 
performed. The modern worker divides his life into hours on a treadmill 
and hours of freedom from the treadmill, and the hours of freedom 
cannot compensate for the others for they are conditioned by them. To 
accept the treadmill and try to reduce working hours is merely to 
eternalize this condition.^ 

*Man is in a growing measure sociologically determined,' writes 
Buber. In the technical, economic, and political spheres of his existence 
he finds himself 'in the grip of incomprehensible powers' which trample 
again and again on all human purposes. This purposelessness of modem 
life is also manifested in the worship of freedom for its own sake. 
Modern vitalism and Lebensphilosophie have exchanged a life-drunk 
spirit for the detached intellect against which they reacted. Progressive 
education has tended to tree the child's creative impulses without 
helping him to acquire the personal responsibility which should accom- 
pany it. This sickness of modern man is manifested most clearly of all, 
however, in the individualism and nationalism which make power an 
end in itself. Tower without faithfulness is life without meaning,' writes 

1 'ReUgion und Philosophic,' p. 334; Martin Buber, 'Religion und Gottesherr- 
schaft,' a criticism of Leonhard Ragaz's Weltreich, Religion und Gottesherrschaft . 
Frankfurter Zeitung, 'Literaturblatt,' No. 9, April 27, 1923; Israel and the World, 
*The Man of Today and the Jewish Bible,' p. 90 f., 'And If Not Now, When?' 
p. 235 f., 'Hebrew Humanism,' p. 246 f. ; Des Baal-Schem-Tow Unterweisung, op. cit., 
p. 116 f. 

' Kampfum Israel, PP- 281, 277. 


The Nature and Redemption of Evil 
Buber. If a nation or civilization is not faithful to its basic principle, it 
can know no real fniitfulness or renewal.^ 

The inevitable result of the *will to power,' whether on the national 
or individual level, is the tendency to use others as means to one's end. 
This tendency is found not only in those governed by the 'profit motive' 
but also in the professional men who give others technical aid without 
entering into relationship with them. Help without mutuality is pre- 
sumptuousness, writes Buber; it is an attempt to practise magic. The 
educator who tries to dominate or enjoy his pupils 'stifles the growth 
of his blessing,' and it is the same with the doctor and the psycho- 
therapist: *As soon as the helper is touched by the desire, in however 
subtle a form, to dominate or to enjoy his patient, or to treat the latter's 
wish to be dominated or enjoyed by him as other than a wrong condi- 
tion needing to be cured, the danger of falsification arises, beside which 
all quackery appears peripheral.' The writer and observer of life who 
associates with people out of ulterior motives and the *rehgious' man 
who forgets his relation with God in his striving to attain higher 
and higher spiritual levels are subtler examples still of the will to 

Yet another product of the dualism of the modem age is the separa- 
tion of means and ends and the belief that the end justifies the means. 
The essence of the essays that Buber has written on Zionism over a 
period of fifty years is the teaching that 'no way leads to any other goal 
but to that which is like it.' 'It is only the sick understanding of this age 
that teaches that the goal can be reached through all the ways of the 
world.' If the means that are used are not consistent with the goal that 
has been set, then this goal will be altered in the attainment. 'What 
knowledge could be of greater importance to the men of our age, and 
to the various communities of our time,' wrote Buber in 1947, than that 
'the use of unrighteousness as a means to a righteous end makes the 
end itself unrighteous?' The person or community which seeks to use 
evil for the sake of good destroys its own soul in the process. 

^ Between Man and Man, 'Dialogue,' p. 39, 'What Is Man?', p. 158; Martin Buber 
and Franz Rosenzweig, Die Schrift und ihren Verdeutschung (Berlin: Schocken 
Verlag, 1936), 'Der Mensch von heute und die jiidische Bibel,' p. 31 f., from a section 
of this essay of Buber's which is not included in the translation in Israel and the 
World; Between Man and Man, 'Education,' p. 90 ff., 'What Is Man?', pp. 150-153; 
Martin Buber, Die Stunde und die Erkenntnis, Reden und Aufsdtze, 1933-1935 
(Berlin: Schocken Verlag, 1936), pp. 16 f., 37 f.; Israel and the World, 'Nationalism,' 
pp. 216, 219 ff., 225; At the Turning, *Judaism and Civilization,' p. 23 f.; Two Types 
of Faith, p. 171; Israel urui Paldstina, op. cit., pp. 180 f., 12 (my translation). 

* Between Man and Man, 'Education,' p. 94 f.; For the Sake of Heaven, pp. 140 f., 
216. The sentence on presumptuousness is from a lecture on the belief in rebirth 
given by Buber at Amersfoort in the summer of 1925 and is quoted by Hans Tnib 
in 'J. C. Blumhardt iiber unheimliche Hilfe,' Aus unbekannten Schriften, op. cit., 
p. 157. 


The Eclipse of God 
I sometimes hear it said that a generation must sacrifice itself, 
*take the sin upon itself,' so that coming generations may be 
free to live righteously. But it is a self-delusion and folly to think 
that one can lead a dissolute life and raise one's children to be good 
and happy; they will usually turn out to be hypocrites or tor- 

The use of evil for the sake of good not only produces inner division 
and dishonesty, it also betrays it, as Buber shows in his portrayal of the 
Seer in For the Sake of Heaven. If this divided motivation goes far 
enough, it may even lead to that Gnostic perversion which elevates evil 
into something holy in itself. The radical Sabbatians believed that they 
could redeem evil by performing it as if it were not evil, that is by 
preserving an inner intention of purity in contrast to the deed. *That is 
an illusion,' writes Buber, 'for all that man does reacts on his soul, even 
when he fancies that his soul hovers over the deed.' Buber speaks of 
this revolt against the distinction between good and evil as *the lust for 
overrunning reality.' 

Instead of making reality the starting point of life, full as it is of 
harsh contradictions, but for this very reason calling forth true 
greatness, namely the quiet work of overcoming the contradictions, 
man submits to illusion, becomes intoxicated with it, surrenders 
his life to it, and in the very measure in which he does this the core 
of his existence becomes burning and unfruitful, he becomes at once 
completely stimulated and in his motive power crippled. 

This demonic *lust for overruning reality' is not simply a product of 
unbelief but a crisis within men's souls, a crisis of temptation, freedom, 
and dishonesty: 

These are the days in which people stiU fulfil the commandments, 
but with a soul squinting away from its own deeds. . . . Behind the 
demonic mask people fancy to behold the countenance of God's 
freedom; they do not allow themselves to be deluded by those 
temptations, but neither do they drive them away. . . . The realms 
are overthrown, everything encroaches upon everything else, and 
possibility is more powerful than reality.^ 

^ Kampfum Israel, pp. 425 f., 451 ; Die Stunde und die Erkenntnis, p. 126; Martin 
Buber, 'Drei Satze eines religiosen Sozialismus,' Neue Wege, Zurich, XXII (1928), 
No. 718, p. 329, reprinted in Hinweise, op. cit., p. 259 ff., and to be published in 
Pointing the Way, op. cit. ; Martin Buber, Zion als Ziel imd Aufgabe (Berlin: Schocken 
Verlag, 1936), 'Zum Geleit,' p. 5; For the Sake of Heaven, pp. 58, 238 f., 256; Israel 
and the World, 'What Are We to Do About the Ten Commandments?', p. 68, 
*And If Not Now, When?', p. 238. 

* Hasidism, 'The Foundation Stone,' pp. 39, 49. 


The Nature and Redemption of Evil 

The fascination with the demonic in modern literature, the tendency 
of many to turn psychoanalysis or 'psychodrama' into a cult of self- 
realization, and the illusory belief that personal fulfilment can come 
through *release' of one's deep inward energies all show the peculiarly 
modern relevance of the 'crisis of temptation and dishonesty' which 
Buber describes. In Carl Jung's teaching, for example, the integrated 
soul 'dispenses with the conscience as the court which distinguishes and 
decides between right and wrong.' The precondition for this integration 
is the '"liberation from those desires, ambitions, and passions which 
imprison us in the visible world," through "intelligent fulfilment of 
instinctive demands.'" What this means becomes clear through Jung's 
statement that it is necessary to succumb 'in part' to evil in order that 
the unification of good and evil may take place. Jung thus resumes, 
under the guise of psychotherapy, the Gnostic motif 'of mystically 
deifying the instincts.' ^ 

What lends especial impetus to the various psychological and theo- 
sophicai cults through which the individual seeks to overrun reality in 
the modern world is the dualism in the soul of modern man. 

In this man the sphere of the spirit and the sphere of impulse 
have fallen apart more markedly than ever before. He perceives 
with apprehension that an unfruitful and powerless remoteness 
from life is threatening the separated spirit, and he perceives with 
horror that the repressed and banished impulses are threatening to 
destroy his soul.^ 

In the philosophical anthropology of Max Scheler, as in the Freudian 
psychoanalysis from which it in part derives, this division of spirit and 
impulse is regarded as basic to man's nature. In Ruber's opinion this is 
a mistaken identification of the state of modern man with the state of 
man in general. The 'central significance of repression and sublimation 
in Freud's system,' derives from the pathological condition of modern 
man and is valid in terms of it. Modern man is sick in his very soul, and 
this sickness springs, in its turn, from his sickness in his relations to 
others. Freud's categories are of importance precisely because of the 
decay of organic community, the disappearance of real togetherness in 
our modern world. 

Where confidence reigns man must often, indeed, adapt his 
wishes to the commands of his community ; but he must not repress 
them to such an extent that the repression acquires a dominating 
significance for his life. . . . Only if the organic community dis- 
integrates from within does the repression acquire its dominating 

1 Eclipse of God, 'Religion and Modem Thinking,' pp. 112-121, 'Reply to C. G. 
Jung,' p. 176. 

' Between Man and Man, 'What Is Man?', p. 187. 


The Eclipse of God 
importance. The unaffectedness of wishing is stifled by mistrust, 
everything around is hostile or can become hostile, agreement 
between one's own and the other's desire ceases . . . and the dulled 

wishes creep hopelessly into the recesses of the soul Now there 

is no longer a human wholeness with the force and the courage to 
manifest itself. For spirit to arise the energy of the repressed 
instincts must mostly first be 'sublimated,' the traces of its origin 
cling to the spirit and it can mostly assert itself against the instincts 
only by convulsive alienation. The divorce between spirit and 
instincts is here, as often, the consequence of the divorce between 
man and man.^ 

Vital dissociation is the sickness of the peoples of our age, writes 
Buber, and this sickness is only apparently healed by forcing people 
together in centralized states and collectivities. The price which the 
modern world has paid for the liberation of the French Revolution has 
been the decay of those organic forms of life which enabled men to live 
in direct relation with one another and which gave men security, 
connection, and a feeling of being at home in the-world. These organic 
forms — the family, union in work, and the community in village and 
town — were based on a vital tradition which has now been lost. Despite 
the outward preservation of some of the old forms, the inward decay 
has resulted in an intensification of man's solitude and a destruction of 
his security. In their place new community forms have arisen which 
have attempted to bring the individual into relation with others; but 
these forms, such as the club, the trade union, and the party, 'have not 
been able to re-establish the security which has been destroyed,' 'since 
they have no access to the life of society itself and its foundations: 
production and consumption.' ^ 

The corollary of this decay of organic forms is the growing difficulty 
of genuine conversation, 'and most especially of genuine conversation 
between men of different kinds and convictions.' 'Direct, open dialogue 
is becoming ever more difficult and more rare; the abysses between 
man and man threaten ever more pitilessly to become unbridgeable.' 
This difficulty of conversation is particularly discernible in the dominance 
of 'false dialogue,' or 'monologue disguised as dialogue.' In false dia- 
logue the participants do not really have each other in mind, or they 
have each other in mind only as general and abstracted opponents and 
not as particular beings. There is no real turning to the other, no real 
desire to establish mutuality. 'Technical dialogue' too is false dialogue 
because it 'is prompted solely by the need of objective understanding 

1 Ibid., pp. 185-197. 

2 Die Stunde unddie Erkenntnis, p. 121 f. ; Between Man and Man, 'What Is Man?', 
p. 157 f.; Paths in Utopia, op. cit., p. 139. 


The Nature and Redemption of Evil 

and has no real concern with the other person as a person. It belongs, 
writes Buber in one of his rare notes of sarcasm, *to the inalienable 
sterling quality of "modern existence.'" It is for monologue that 
disguises itself as dialogue, however, that Buber reserves his full scorn. 
Here men have the illusion of getting beyond themselves when actually 
each speaks only with himself. This type of *dialogue' is characteristic 
of our intensely social age in which men are more alone than ever before. 

A debate in which the thoughts are not expressed in the way in 
which they existed in the mind but in the speaking are so pointed 
that they may strike home in the sharpest way, and moreover with- 
out the men that are spoken to being regarded in any way present 
as persons; a conversation characterized by the need neither to 
communicate something, nor to learn something, nor to influence 
someone, nor to come into connexion with someone, but solely 
by the desire to have one's own self-reliance confirmed by making 
the impression that is made, or if it has become unsteady to have it 
strengthened; a friendly chat in which each regards himself as 
absolute and legitimate and the other as relativized and question- 
able; a lovers^ talk in which both partners alike enjoy their own 
glorious soul and their precious experience — what an underworld 
of faceless spectres of dialogue ! ^ 

By far the largest part of what is called conversation today would be 
more correctly described as talk. In general, people do not really speak 
to one another. Each turns to the other, to be sure, but he speaks in 
reality to a fictitious audience which exists only to listen to him. The 
understanding of true conversation is so rare in our time that one 
imagines that one can arrange a genuine dialogue before a public of 
interested spectators with the assistance of proper publicity. But a 
public debate, on no matter how high a level, can neither be spon- 
taneous, direct, nor unreserved. Such public discussion is unbridgeably 
separate from genuine dialogue. It is much closer to propaganda, which 
seeks to win the individual over for a cause. To propaganda the in- 
dividual as such is always burdensome. Its only concern is more members, 
more followers, a larger supporting base. Propaganda means mastering 
the other through depersonalizing him. It is variously combined with 
coercion, supplementing or replacing it according to need and prospect, 
but ultimately it is itself nothing other than sublimated coercion, in- 
visibly applied. It sets the soul under a pressure which still allows the 
illusion of autonomy. 

Almost all that one understands in our time as specifically modern 

^ Martin Buber, 'Hope for This Hour,* an address translated by me and given 
by Buber at a tribute for him at Carnegie Hall, New York, April 6, 1952, published 
in World Review^ December 1952; Between Man and Man, 'Dialogue,' p. i9 f. 


The Eclipse of God 
stands in opposition to the awareness of one's fellow as a whole, single, 
and unique person, even if, in most cases, a defectively developed one! 
In the modern age an analytic, reductive, and derivative glance pre- 
dominates between man and man. It is analytic, or rather pseudo- 
analytic, because it treats the whole body-soul being as composite in 
nature and hence as dissectible— not the so-called unconscious alone, 
which is susceptible to a relative objectification, but also the psychic 
stream itself, which can never in reality be adequately grasped as an 
object. This glance is reductive because it wishes to reduce the manifold 
person, nourished by the microcosmic fullness of possibility, to a 
schematically surveyable and generally repetitive structure. And it is 
derivative because it hopes to grasp what a man has become, and even 
his becoming itself, in genetic formulas, because it tries to replace the 
individual dynamic central principle of this becoming by a general 
concept. Today a radical dissolution of all mystery is aspired to between 
man and man. Personality, that incessantly near mystery which was 
once the motive-ground for the stillest inspiration, is levelled out.^ 

Corresponding to the absence of genuine dialogue between men is 
the absence of real communication between peoples of different situa- 
tions and points of view. The human world,' Buber wrote in 1952, *is 
today, as never before, split into two camps, each of which under- 
stands the other as the embodiment of falsehood and itself as the 
embodiment of truth.' Man not only thinks his principle true and the 
opposing one false, as in earlier epochs, but he now believes *that he is 
concerned with the recognition and realization of right, his opponent 
with the masking of his selfish interest.' The mistrust that reigns between 
the two camps has been decisively enhanced by the theory of 'ideology' 
which has become prevalent through the influence of Marx, Nietzsche, 
and Freud. This theory consists of seeing through and unmasking the 
other in terms of individual psychology or sociology. One assumes that 
the other dissembles of necessity and looks for the unconscious motive, 
'complex,' or group interest that clothes itself in his seemingly objective 
judgment. These psychological and sociological theories of *seeing- 
through' have again and again fallen into the boundless simplification 
of reducing man to the newly discovered elements instead of inserting 
these elements into man's total structure. As a result, the mistrust 
between man and man has become in a double sense existential. 

It is, first of all, no longer only the uprightness, the honesty of 
the other which is in question, but the inner agreement of his 
existence itself. Secondly, this mistrust not only destroys trust- 
worthy conversation between opponents but also the immediacy 
of togetherness of man and man generally.^ 
' 'Elements of the Interhuman,' op. cit., sections 2, 4, 5. 
- 'Hope for This Hour,' Pointing the Way, pp. 220-229. 


The Nature and Redemption of Evil 

The result of this progressive decline of dialogue and growth of 
universal mistrust is that man's need for confirmation no longer finds 
any natural satisfaction. Man seeks confirmation either through him- 
self or through membership in a collective, but both of these confirma- 
tions are illusory. He whom no fellow-man confirms must endeavour 
to restore his self-confirmation *with ever more convulsive exertions . . . 
and finally he knows himself as inevitably abandoned.' Confirmation 
is by its very nature a reciprocal process : the man who does not con- 
firm his fellow-man will not only receive no confirmation from others 
but will find it increasingly diflBcult to confirm himself. 'Confirmation 
through the collective, on the other hand, is pure fiction.' Though the 
collective employs each of its members in terms of his particular ability 
and character, it 'cannot recognize anyone in his own being and there- 
fore independently of his usefulness for the collective.' ^ 

These two types of illusory confirmation correspond to the false 
dichotomy which dominates our age, that between individualism and 
collectivism. Despite their apparent opposition, the individuaUst and 
the collectivist are actually alike in that neither knows true personal 
wholeness or true responsibility. The individualist acts out of arbitrary 
self-will and in consequence is completely defined and conditioned by 
circumstances. The collectivist acts in terms of the collectivity and in 
so doing loses his abifity to perceive and to respond from the depths of 
his being. Neither can attain any genuine relation with others, for one 
cannot be a genuine person in individualism or collectivism, and 'there 
is genuine relation only between genuine persons.' ^ 

Collectivism is the greater danger to the modern world. Whether in 
the form of totalitarianism or of self-effacing loyalty to political parties, 
it represents the desire of this age to fly 'from the demanding "ever 
anew'" of personal responsibility 'into the protective "once for all'" of 
membership in a group. 'The last generation's intoxication with freedom 
has been followed by the present generation's craze for bondage; the 
untruth of intoxication has been followed by the untruth of hysteria.' 

Today host upon host of men have everywhere sunk into the 
slavery of collectives, and each collective is the supreme authority 
for its own slaves ; there is no longer, superior to the collectives, any 
universal sovereignty in idea, faith or spirit.^ 

Collectivism is typical of our age in giving the appearance but not the 
reality of relation, for in our age the great hopes and dreams of man- 

^ 'Hope for This Hour.' Cf. Images of Good and Evil, op. cit., p. 77. 

2 Between Man and Man, The Question to the Single One,* p. 80 f., 'What Is 
Man?', p. 200 ff. 

3 Ibid., The Question to the Single One,' p. 70, The Education of Character,' 
p. 110. 


The Eclipse of God 
kind have been fulfilled one after another— *as the caricature of them- 
selves.' Collectivism imperils *the immeasurable value which constitutes 
man,* for it destroys the dialogue between man and God and the living 
communion between man and man. 

Man in a collective is not man with man. . . . The *whole,' with 
its claim on the wholeness of every man, aims logically and success- 
fully at reducing, neutralizing, devaluating, and desecrating every 
bond with living beings. That tender surface of personal life which 
longs for contact with other life is progressively deadened or de- 
sensitized. Man's isolation is not overcome here, but overpowered 
and numbed. . . . The actual condition of solitude has its insuper- 
able effect in the depths, and rises secretly to a cruelty which will 
become manifest with the scattering of the illusion. Modem 
collectivism is the last barrier raised by man against a meeting with 

*We experience this not only as an hour of the heaviest affliction,' 
Buber wrote in 1952, 'but also as one that appears to give no essentially 
different outlook for the future, no prospect of a time of radiant and 
full living.' 2 With each new crisis in man's image of the universe *the 
original contract between the universe and man is dissolved and man 
finds himself a stranger and solitary in the world.' As a result of this 
insecurity, man questions not only the universe and his relation to it, 
but himself. Today, writes Buber, 'the question about man's being faces 
us as never before in all its grandeur and terror — no longer in philo- 
sophical attire but in the nakedness of existence.' ^ In other eras of 
cosmic insecurity there was still 'a social certainty' resulting from 'living 
in real togetherness' in 'a small organic community.' Modern man, in 
contrast, is homeless both in the universe and in the community. Our 
modem crisis, as a result, is the most deep-reaching and comprehensive 
in history.* In it the two aspects of social and cosmic insecurity have 
merged into a loss of confidence in human existence as such: 

The existential mistrust is indeed basically no longer, like the old 
kind, a mistrust of my fellow-man. It is rather the destruction of 
confidence in existence in general. That we can no longer carry on 
a genuine conversation from one camp to the other is the severest 
symptom of the sickness of present-day man. Existential mistrust is 
this sickness itself. But the destruction of trust in human existence 

1 Die Stunde und die Erkenntnis, p. 126 f.; Between Man and Man, 'The Question 
to the Single One,' p. 80 f., 'What Is Man?', p. 201. 

2 'Hope for This Hour.' 

» Between Man and Man, 'What Is Man?', pp. 132 f., 145. 
* Ibid., p. 196 f. 


The Nature and Redemption of Evil 

is the inner poisoning of the total human organism from which 
this sickness stems.^ 

The loss of confidence in human existence also means a loss of trust 
in God. *At its core the conflict between mistrust and trust of man 
conceals the conflict between mistrust and trust of eternity.' In the way 
leading from one age of solitude to the next, 'each solitude is colder 
and stricter than the preceding, and salvation from it more difficult.' It 
is only in our time, however, that man has reached a condition in which 
*he can no longer stretch his hands out from his solitude to meet a divine 
form.' This inability to reach out to God is at the basis of Nietzsche's 
saying, *God is dead.' 'Apparently nothing more remains now to the 
solitary man but to seek an intimate communication with himself.' 
Modern man is imprisoned in his subjectivity and cannot discern 'the 
essential diff'erence between all subjectivity and that which transcends 
it.' 2 

This mounting spiral of subjectivism has manifested itself most 
clearly in the progressive relativizing of all values. 

The conspicuous tendency of our age ... is not, as is sometimes 
supposed, directed merely against the sanctioning of . . . norms by 
religion, but against their universal character and absolute validity 
. . . their claim to be of a higher order than man and to govern the 
whole of mankind. In our age values and norms are not permitted 
to be anything but expressions of the life of a group which translates 
its own need into the language of objective claims, until at last the 
group itself ... is raised to an absolute value. . . . Then this spUtting 
up into groups so pervades the whole of life that it is no longer 
possible to re-estabUsh a sphere of values common to mankind.^ 

The roots of this relativism lie in part in the philosophy which 'seeks to 
unmask the spiritual world as a system of deceptions and self-deceptions, 
of "ideologies" and "sublimations."' Buber traces the development of 
this philosophy through Feuerbach and Vico to Marx, who made the 
distinction between good and evil a function of the class struggle, and 
Nietzsche, who, 'like Marx, saw historical morals as the expression and 
instruments of the power struggle between ruUng and oppressed 
classes.' * 

Sartre accepts Nietzsche's cry 'God is dead,' as a valid statement of 
fact. Recognizing, like Nietzsche, that 'all possibility of discovering 

1 'Hope for This Hour.' 

2 Ibid.y Between Man and Man, 'What Is Man?', p. 167; Eclipse ofGody 'Religion 
and ReaUty,' p. 33. 

* Between Man and Man, 'The Education of Character,' p. 108 ff., 'The Question 
to the Single One,' p. 81 f. 

* Eclipse of God, 'Religion and Ethics,' pp. 141-146. 


The Eclipse of God 
absolute values has disappeared with God,' Sartre adopts as his own 
Dostoievsky's phrase, *all is permitted' to man. Since "*life has no 
meaning a priori ... it is up to you to give it a meaning, and value is 
nothing else than this meaning which you ch6ose."' But, Buber points | 
out, this is just what one cannot do. The very nature of value as that 
which gives man direction depends on the fact that it is not arbitrarily 
invented or chosen but is discovered in man's meeting with being.^ 
Because value guides man in the process of becoming what he is not, it 
cannot be derived from what he is. Sartre's concept of the free invention 
of meaning and value is reminiscent of Buber's second stage of evil in 
which *truth' and *good' are what the individual ordains as such. 

Subjectivism dominates not only the attitude of our age toward 
values but modern thinking in general. In the progress of its philo- 
sophizing the human spirit is ever more inclined to regard the absolute 
which it contemplates as having been produced by itself, the spirit that 
thinks it: 'Until, finally, all that is over against us, everything that 
accosts us and takes possession of us, all partnership of existence, is 
dissolved in free-floating subjectivity.' In the next age, which is the 
modern one, the human spirit annihilates conceptually the absoluteness 
of the absolute. Although the spirit may imagine that it still remains 
'as bearer of all things and coiner of all values,' it has annihilated its 
own absoluteness as well. 'Spirit' is now only a product of human 
individuals 'which they contain and secrete like mucus and urine.' ^ 

In these two stages we can recognize idealism and the various types 
of modern relativism which have succeeded it — immanentism, psycho- 
logism, historicism, naturalism, and materialism. What is in question 
in this process is not just atheism. The traditional term 'God' is pre- 
served in many cases 'for the sake of its profound overtones.' But this 
'God' is utterly unlike the traditional conception of God as an absolute 
that transcends man. 'Specifically modern thought can no longer endure 
a God who is not confined to man's subjectivity, who is not merely a 
"supreme value.'" It seeks 'to preserve the idea of the divine as the true 
concern of religion' and at the same time 'to destroy the reality of the 
idea of God and thereby also the reality of our relation to Him.' 'This 
is done in many ways,' writes Buber, 'overtly and covertly, apodictically 
and hypothetically, in the language of metaphysics and of psychology.' ^ 

Even more eloquent than Nietzsche's proclamation that God is dead, 
writes Buber, are the attempts to fill the now-empty horizon. Heidegger, 
for example, intimates that after our present imageless era — the era in 
which 'God is dead' — a new procession of divine images may begin. 

1 Ibid., 'Religion and Modem Thinking,' pp. 88, 93 f. (Cf. Jean Paul Sartre, 
U Existentialisme est un Humanisme, pp. 33, 89). 

2 Ibid., 'God and the Spirit of Man,' p. 159 ff. 
» Ibid., 'Religion and Reality,' pp. 28, 32, 26. 


The Nature and Redemption of Evil 

But he does not hold, says Buber, that man will again experience and 
accept his real encounters with the divine as such.^ What brings about 
the reappearance of the divine, in Heidegger's view, is human thought 
about truth; for being, to Heidegger, attains its illumination through 
the destiny and history of man. *He whose appearance can be effected 
or co-effected through such a modem-magical influence,' writes Buber 
*cleariy has only the name in common with Him whom we men, basically 
in agreement despite all the differences in our religious teachings, 
address as God.' Heidegger ends, Buber points out, by allying to his 
own historical hour this clarification of the thought of being to which he 
has ascribed the power to make ready for the sunrise of the holy. 
'"History exists,'" writes Heidegger, *"only when the essence of truth is 
originally decided.'" Yet the hour that he has affirmed as history in 
this sense is none other than that of Hitler and the Nazis, *the very 
same hour whose problematics in its most inhuman manifestation led 
him astray.' When Heidegger proclaims Hitler as *"the present and 
future German reality and its law,'" writes Buber, 'history no longer 
stands, as in all believing times, under divine judgment, but it itself, the 
unappealable, assigns to the Coming One his way.' ^ Here again we 
are reminded of the absolute self-affirmation of the second stage of evil ! 

In modern philosophy of religion the I of the I-It relation steps ever 
more into the foreground as the 'subject' of 'religious feeling,' the 
'profiter from a pragmatist decision to believe.' Even more important 
than this is the subjectivizing of the act of faith itself, for this latter has 
penetrated to the innermost depth of the religious life. This subjecti- 
vization threatens the spontaneous turning toward the Presence with 
which the man who prays formerly overcame what distracted his atten- 
tion. 'The overconsciousness of this man here that he is praying, that 
he is praying, that he is praying . . . depossesses the moment, takes away 
its spontaneity.' His subjectivity enters into the midst of his statement 
of trust and disturbs his relation with the Absolute.^ 

When he has to interpret his encounters with God as self-encounters, 
'man's very structure is destroyed,' writes Buber. 'This is the portent of 
the present hour.' * 

In our age the I-It relation, gigantically swollen, has usurped, 
practically uncontested, the mastery and the rule. The I of this 
relation, an I that possesses all, makes all, succeeds with all, this I 
that is unable to say Thou, unable to meet a being essentially, is the 
lord of the hour. This selfhood that has become omnipotent, with 
all the It around it, can naturally acknowledge neither God nor 

1 Eclipse of God, 'Religion and Reality,' pp. 27-34. 

* Ibid., 'Religion and Modem Thinking,* pp. 94-97, 99-103. 

* Ibid.y 'God and the Spirit of Man,' p. 162 ff. 

* Ibid., 'Religion and Reality,' pp. 21, 32 f. 


The Eclipse of God 
any genuine absolute which manifests itself to men as of non- 
human origin. It steps in between and shuts off from us the light of 

'Eclipse of the light of heaven, eclipse of God,' this is, as Buber sees it, 
*the character of the historical hour through which the world is passing.' 
This eclipse is not taking place in human subjectivity 'but in Being 
itself.' It is the human side of 'the silence of God,' of 'God's hiding 
His face.' ^ 

'He who refuses to submit himself to the effective reality of the 
transcendence,' writes Buber, '. . . contributes to the human responsi- 
bility for the eclipse.' This does not mean that man can eflfect 'the death 
of God.' Even if there is no longer 'a God of man,' He who is denoted 
by the name 'lives intact' in the light of His eternity. 'But we, "the 
slayers," remain dwellers in darkness, consigned to death.' Thus the 
real meaning of the proclamation that God is 'dead' is 'that man has 
become incapable of apprehending a reality absolutely independent of 
himself and of having a relation with it.' Heidegger is right in saying 
that we can no longer image God, but this is not a lack in man's 
imagination. 'The great images of God . . . are bom not of imagination 
but of real encounters with real divine power and glory.' Man's power 
to glimpse God with his being's eye yields no images since God eludes 
direct contemplation, but it is from it that all images and representa- 
tions are born. When the I of the I-It relation comes in between man 
and God, this glance is no longer possible, and, as a result, the image- 
making power of the human heart declines. 'Man's capacity to appre- 
hend the divine in images is lamed in the same measure as is his capacity 
to experience a reality absolutely independent of himself.' ^ In all past 
times men had, stored away in their hearts, images of the Absolute, 
'partly pallid, partly crude, altogether false and yet true. . . .' These 
images helped to protect them from the deception of the voices. This 
protection no longer exists now that 'God is dead,' now that the 
'spiritual pupil' cannot catch a glimpse of the appearance of the 

False absolutes rule over the soul which is no longer able to put 
them to flight through the image of the true. ... In the realm of 
Moloch honest men Lie and compassionate men torture. And they 
really and truly believe that brother-murder will prepare the way 
for brotherhood! There appears to be no escape from the most evil 
of all idolatry.* 

* Ibid.y 'God and the Spirit of Man,' p. 165 ff. 

* Ibid.y 'Religion and Reality,' p. 34 f., 'Religion and Modern Thinking,' p. 89 ff. 
» Ibid, 'Religion and ReaUty,' pp. 34 f., 22. 'God and the Spirit of Man,' p. 164 f. 

*On the Suspension of the Ethical,' p. 154 f. 

* Ibid., 'On the Suspension of the Ethical,' pp. 149-156. 


The Nature and Redemption of Evil 

The most terrible consequence of the eclipse is the silence of God — 
the loss of the sense of God's nearness. 'It seems senseless to turn to 
Him who, if He is here, will not trouble Himself about us ; it seems 
hopeless to will to penetrate to Him who may . . . perhaps be the soul 
of the universe but not our Father.' When history appears to be empty 
of God, 'with nowhere a beckoning of His finger,' it is difficult for an 
individual and even more for a people to understand themselves as 
addressed by God. *The experience of concrete answerability recedes 
more and more . . . man unlearns taking the relationship between God 
and himself seriously in the dialogic sense.' During such times the world 
seems to be irretrievably abandoned to the forces of tyranny. In the 
image of Psalm 82, the world is given over by God to judges who 'judge 
unjustly' and 'lift up the face of the wicked.' This situation is nowhere 
more clearly described in modern literature than in the novels of Franz 
Kafka: 'His unexpressed, ever-present theme,' writes Buber, 'is the 
remoteness of the judge, the remoteness of the lord of the castle, the 
hiddenness, the eclipse. . . .' Kafka describes the human world as gi\en 
over to the meaningless government of a slovenly bureaucracy without 
possibility of appeal: 'From the hopelessly strange Being who gave this 
world into their impure hands, no message of comfort or promise 
penetrates to us. He is, but he is not present.' ^ 

Not only Kafka, the unredeemed Jew, but even the redeemed Chris- 
tian soul becomes aware in our day of the eclipse of the light of God, 
'of the still unredeemed concreteness of the human world in all its 
horror.' Nothing in our time has so confirmed Kafka's view or made 
the silence of God appear so terrifying as the concentration camps of 
Nazi Germany in which millions of human beings were systematically 
and scientifically exterminated as if they were insects. Never has the 
world appeared so forsaken, so engulfed in utter darkness. 

How is a life with God still possible in a time in which there is an 
Oswiecim? The estrangement has become too cruel, the hiddenness 
too deep. One can still 'believe in the God who allowed these things 
to happen,' but can one still speak to Him? Can one still hear His 
word? . . . Dare we recommend to . . . the Job of the gas chambers: 
'Call to Him ; for He is kind, for His mercy endureth forever' ? - 

^ For the Sake of Heaven, p. 116; At the Turning, p. 58 ff,; Right and Wrong, 
Judgement on the Judges' (Psalm 82), pp. 30-33; Two Types of Faith, pp. 165-168. 
* Two Types of Faith y pp. 162 f., 166 f.; At the Turning, p. 61. 



Man's turning from evil and taking the direction toward God 
is the beginning of his own redemption and that of the world. 
God 'wishes to redeem us — but only by our own acceptance 
of His redemption with the turning of the whole being.' Our turning is 
only the beginning, however, for man's action must be answered by 
God's grace for redemption to be complete. When we go forth to meet 
God, He comes to meet us, and this meeting is our salvation. 'It is not 
as though any definite act of man could draw grace down from heaven ; 
yet grace answers deed in unpredictable ways, grace unattainable, yet 
not self-withholding.' It is senseless, therefore, to try to divide redemp- 
tion into a part that is dependent on man and a part that is dependent 
on God. Man must be concerned with his action alone before he brings 
it about, with God's grace alone after the action is successfully done. 
'The one is no less real than the other, and neither is a part-cause . . . 
man's action is enclosed in God's action, but it is still real action.' 
When man breaks through, he has an immediate experience of his 
freedom; after his decision has been made, he has an immediate experi- 
ence that God's hand has carried him.^ Man's action and God's grace 
are subsumed under the greater reality of the meeting between God and 

The decisive turning is not merely an attitude of the soul but some- 
thing effective in the whole corporeality of life. It is not to be identified 
with repentance, for repentance is something psychological and purely 
inward which shows itself outwardly only in its 'consequences' and 
'effects.' The turning 'is something which happens in the immediacy of 
the reality between man and God.' It 'is as little a "psychic" event as is 
a man's birth or death.' Repentance is at best only an incentive to this 
turning, and it may even stand in the way of it if a man tortures himself 

^ The Prophetic Faith, op. cit., pp. 104, 124; Hasidism, op. cit., 'Spinoza,' pp. 
108-111; Israel and the World, op. cit., 'The Faith of Judaism,' p. 18, 'The Two 
Foci of the Jewish Soul,' p. 32 f. 


The Nature and Redemption of Evil 

with the idea that his acts of penance are not sufficient and thereby 
withholds his best energies from the work of reversal.^ 

The teshuvah, or turning to God, is born in the depths of the soul out 
of *the despair which shatters the prison of our latent energies' and out 
of the suffering which purifies the soul. In his darkest hours man feels 
the hand of God reaching down to him. If he has *the incredible 
courage' to take the hand and let it draw him up out of the darkness, 
he tastes the essence of redemption — the knowledge that his 'redeemer 
liveth' (Job xix, 18) and wishes to redeem him. But he must accept this 
redemption with the turning of his whole being, for only thus can he 
extricate himself from the maze of selfishness where he has always set 
himself as his goal and find a way to God and to the fulfilment of the 
particular task for which he is intended.^ 

To turn to God with the whole of one's being means to turn with 
all of one's passion. Passion is the element without which no deed can 
succeed, the element which needs only direction in order that out of it 
the kingdom of God can be built. According to Hasidism, it is the 
yearning of the divine sparks to be redeemed that brings the 'alien 
thoughts,' or impure impulses, to man. The alien thoughts of which the 
Baal-Shem speaks are in our language fantasy, says Ruber. The trans- 
formation of these impulses, accordingly, can only take place in our 
imaginative faculty. We must not reject the abundance of this fantasy 
but transform it and turn it into actuality. 'We must convert the element 
that seeks to take possession of us into the substance of real life.' The 
contradictions which distress us exist only that we may discover their 
intrinsic significance.^ 

The very qualities which make us what we are constitute our special 
approach to God and our potential use for Him. Each man is created 
for the fulfilment of a unique purpose. His foremost task, therefore, 'is 
the actualization of his unique, unprecedented and never-recurring 
potentialities, and not the repetition of something that another, and be 
it even the greatest, has already achieved.' We can revere the service 
of others and learn from it, but we cannot imitate it. Neither ought we 
envy another's particularity and place nor attempt to impose our own 

^ Two Types of Faith, op. cit., p. 26; Israel and the World, 'The Faith of Judaism,' 
p. 20; The Way of Man, op. cit., p. 35 f. 

2 For the Sake of Heaven, op. cit., pp. 113, 116, 202; Israel and the World, 'The 
Man of Today and the Jewish Bible,' p. 101 f.; The Way of Man, p. 36. 

^ Israel and the World, 'The Faith of Judaism,' p. 17 f.; Hasidism, 'The Foundation 
Stone,' p. 53 f., 'The Beginnings of Hasidism,' p. 30 f. ; Kampf urn Israel, op. cit., 
p. 399 f.; Martin Buber, Ten Rungs, Hasidic Sayings, trans, by Olga Marx (New 
York: Schocken Books, 1947), p. 94 f.; Martin Buber, Tales of the Hasidim, The 
Early Masters, trans, by Olga Marx (New York: Schocken Books, 1947), pp. 4, 
11-14, 29; Hasidism and Modern Man, The Baal-Shem-Tor's Instruction in 
Intercourse with God.' 


The Redemption of Evil 
particular way on him.^ The way by which a man can reach God is 
revealed to hun only through the knowledge of his essential quality 
and inclination. Man discovers this essential quality through perceiving 
his *central wish,' the strongest feeling which stirs his inmost being. In 
many cases he knows this central wish only in the form of the particular 
passion which seeks to lead him astray. To preserve and direct this 
passion he must divert it from the casual to the essential, from the 
relative to the absolute. He must prevent it from rushing at the objects 
which lie across his path, yet he must not turn away from these objects 
but establish genuine relationship with them. * Man's task, therefore, is 
not to extirpate the evil urge, but to reunite it with the good.' If man 
lends his will to the direction of his passions, he begins the movement 
of holiness which God completes. In the hallowing which results, *the 
total man is accepted, confirmed, and fulfilled. This is the true inte- 
gration of man.' ^ 

The belief in the redemption of evil does not mean any security of 
salvation. The prophets of Israel, writes Buber, *always aimed to shatter 
all security and to proclaim in the opened abyss of the final insecurity 
the unwished-for God who demands that His human creatures become 
real . . . and confounds all who imagine that they can take refuge in the 
certainty that the temple of God is in their midst.' There is no other 
path for the responsible modern man than this 'holy insecurity.' In an 
age in which 'God is dead,' the truly religious man sets forth across the 
God-deprived reality to a new meeting with the nameless God and on 
his way destroys the images that no longer do justice to God. 'Holy 
insecurity' is life lived in the Face of God. It is the life in which one 
learns to speak the truth 'no matter whether a whole people is listening, 
or only a few individuals,' and learns to speak it quietly and clearly 
through having been in hell and having returned to the light of day 

If a man tries to get rid of his insecurity by constructing a defensive 
armour to protect himself from the world, he has added to the exposed- 
ness which is the state of all men the hysteria which makes him run 
blindly from the thing he fears rather than face and accept it. Con- 
versely, if he accepts his exposed condition and remains open to those 
things which meet him, he has turned his exposedness into 'holy in- 
security.' He has overcome his blind fear and has put in its place the 

1 Tales of the Hasidim, The Early Masters, p. 29; The Way of Man, p. 17 ff. 

2 For the Sake of Heaven, p. Ill; The Way of Man, p. 19 f.; Images of Good and 
Evil, op. cit., pp. 39-42; Israel and the World, 'The Power of the Spirit,' p. 181 f. 

3 Eclipse of God, 'Religion and Modem Thmking,' p. 97 f., 'Religion and 
Philosophy,' p. 63; Kampf urn Israel, p. 198; Martin Buber, 'Our Reply,' Towards 
Union in Palestine, Essays on Zionism and Jewish-Arab Cooperation, ed. by Martin 
Buber, Judah L. Magnes, and Ernst Simon (Jerusalem: Ihud Association, September 
1945), p. 34. 


The Nature and Redemption of Evil 

faith which is born out of the relation with the Thou. The defensive man 
becomes literally rigid with fear. He sets between himself and the world 
a rigid religious dogma, a rigid system of philosophy, a rigid political 
belief and commitment to a group, and a rigid wall of personal values 
and habits. The open man, on the other hand, accepts his fear and 
relaxes into it. He substitutes the realism of despair, if need be, for the 
tension of hysteria. He meets every new situation with quiet and sure- 
ness out of the depths of his being, yet he meets it with the fear and 
trembling of one who has no ready-made answer to life. 

The religious essence of every religion, writes Buber, *is the certainty 
that the meaning of existence is open and accessible in the actual lived 
concreteness.' This does not mean that meaning is to be won through 
any analytical or synthetic reflection upon the lived concrete but through 
'living action and suffering itself, in the unreduced immediacy of the 
moment.' Neither can one aim at experiencing the experience, for one 
thereby destroys the spontaneity of the mystery and thus misses the 
meaning. 'Only he reaches the meaning who stands firm, without 
holding back or reservation, before the whole might of reality and 
answers it in a living way.' No meeting with God can take place entirely 
outside of this lived concrete. Even asceticism is essentially a reduction 
for the sake of preserving the concreteness of the moment when this no 
longer seems attainable in the fullness of life. Prayer too is not spiritual- 
ity floating above concrete reality but lived concreteness. Prayer is the 
very essence of the immediacy between man and God, and praying is, 
above all words, the action of turning directly to God. In true prayer, 
no matter what else the individual asks for, he 'ultimately asks for the 
manifestation of the divine Presence, for this Presence's becoming 
dialogicaUy perceivable.' The presupposition of a genuine state of 
prayer is not religious words, pious feelings, or techniques of spiritual 
concentration but 'the readiness of the whole man for this Presence, 
simple turned-towardness, unreserved spontaneity.' ^ 

All reUgious reality begins with the acceptance of the concrete situa- 
tion as given one by the Giver, and it is this which Biblical religion calls 
the 'fear of God.' The 'fear of God' is the essence of 'holy insecurity,' 
for *it comes when our existence becomes incomprehensible and un- 
canny, when all security is shattered through the mystery.' By 'the 
mystery' Buber does not mean the as yet undiscovered but the essentially 
unknowable — 'the undefinable and unfathomable,' whose inscrutable- 
ness belongs to its very nature. The believing man who passes through 
this shattering of security returns to the everyday as the henceforth 

^ Eclipse of God, 'Religion and Philosophy,' pp. 49 f., 52 f., 'God and the Spirit 
of Man,' p. 163; Between Man and Man, 'Dialogue,' p. 15; Des Baal-Schem-Tow 
Unterweisung im Umgang mit Gott, p. 12 f.; The Way of Man, p. 21 ; Two Types of 
Faith, pp. 28, 157, 161. 


The Redemption of Evil 
hallowed place in which he has to live with the mystery. 'He steps forth 
directed and assigned to the concrete, contextual situations of his 
existence.' This does not mean that he accepts everything that meets 
him as 'God-given' in its pure factuality. 

He may, rather, declare the extremest enmity toward this 
happening and treat its 'givenness' as only intended to draw forth 
his own opposing force. But he will not remove himself from the 
concrete situation as it actually is. . . . Whether field of work or 
field of battle, he accepts the place in which he is placed.^ 

One should not willingly accept evil in one's life but should will to 
penetrate the impure with the pure. The result may well be an inter- 
penetration of both elements, but it may not be anticipated by saying 
'yes' to the evil in advance.^ 

Fear of God is the indispensable gate to the love of God. That love 
of God which does not comprehend fear is really idolatry, the adoration 
of a god whom one has constructed oneself. Such a god is easy enough 
to love, but it is not easy to love 'the real God, who is, to begin with, 
dreadful and incomprehensible.' ^ 

He who wishes to avoid passing through this gate, he who begins 
to provide himself with a comprehensible God, constructed thus 
and not otherwise, runs the risk of having to despair of God in 
view of the actualities of history and life, or of falling into inner 
falsehood. Only through the fear of God does man enter so deep 
into the love of God that he cannot again be cast out of it.^ 

The fear of God is only a gate, however, and not, as some theologians 
believe, a dwelling in which man can settle down. When man encounters 
the demonic, he must not rest in it but must penetrate behind it to find 
the meaning of his meeting with it. The fear of God must flow into the 
love of God and be comprehended by it before one is ready to endure 
in the face of God the whole reality of lived life.^ 

Contrary to the teachings of many religious men, the love of God 
does not mean the submission of one's will in obedience to God. 'When 

1 Eclipse of God, 'Religion and Philosophy,' p. 50 ff. 

2 From a conversation between Buber and Max Brod quoted in Max Brod, 'Zur 
Problematik des Bosen und des Rituals,' Der Jude, 'Sonderheft zu Martin Bubers 
fiinfzigstem Geburtstag,' X, 5 (March 1928), ed. by Robert Weltsch, p. 109. 

3 Eclipse of God, p. 50 f.; Martin Buber, Israel and Palestine, The History of an 
Idea (London: East & West Library; New York: Farrar, Straus & Young, 1952), 
p. 89. 

* Israel and the World, 'The Two Foci of the Jewish Soul,' p. 31 f. Cf. ibid., 
'Imitatio Dei,' p. 76 f.; For the Sake of Heaven, p. 46. 

5 Israel and the World, 'The Two Foci of the Jewish Soul,' p. 32; Eclipse of God, 
'ReUgion and Philosophy,' p. 50 ff.; Two Types of Faith, pp. 137, 154. 


The Nature and Redemption of Evil 

and so far as the loving man loves he does not need to bend his will, 
for he lives in the Divine Will.' God commands that man love Him, 
but it is not God, but the soul itself, in the original mystery of its 
spontaneity, that loves Him. Man can be conmianded to love God since 
this means nothing other than the actualization of the existing relation- 
ship of faith to Him. *Love thy neighbour as thyself,' in contrast, does 
not mean loving feeling but loving action. One cannot command that 
one feel love for a person but only that one deal lovingly with him. 
Re-ah, or *neighbour,' means, in the Old Testament, anyone with whom 
one stands in an immediate and reciprocal relationship. *"Love thy 
re-ah'' therefore means in our language: be lovingly disposed towards 
men with whom thou has to do at anytime in the course of thy life.' 
This lovingkindness will also ultimately come to include the feeling of 
love, for if a person really loves God, he loves every man whom God 
loves as he becomes aware that God does love him. To find meaning 
in existence one must begin oneself and penetrate into it with active 
love : *Meet the world with the fullness of your being and you shall 
meet Him. . . . If you wish to believe, love!' ^ 

The love of the Creator and of that which He has created are finally 
one and the same. 'Imitatio Dei' does not mean becoming like God as 
He is in Himself but only the following in His way in relation to justice 
and love — the divine attributes which are turned toward man. The true 
meaning of the ethical, writes Buber, is *to help God by loving His 
creation in his creatures, by loving it towards Him.' *People who love 
each other with holy love bring each other towards the love with which 
God loves His world.' ^ The true love of man is not a general love for 
all humanity but a quite concrete, direct, and effective love for parti- 
cular individuals. Only because one loves specific men can one elevate 
to love one's relation to man in general.^ "Togetherness,"' says David 
of Lelov in For the Sake of Heaven, '"means that each is intimate with 
the other and each feels lovingkindness for the other.'" The Yehudi 
extends this togetherness even to the sons of Satan, whom God has 
made us capable of loving: 

*Does not redemption primarily mean the redeeming of the evil 
from the evil ones that make them so? If the world is to be forever- 

1 Two Types of Faith, pp. 69 ff., U7; At the Turning, pp. 37, 42 ff. 

^ At the Turning, p. 37 ff. ; Between Man and Man, *The Question to the Single 
One,' pp. 51 f., 56 f.; Eclipse of God, 'Religion and Ethics,' p. 137 f., Hasidism, 
*God and the Soul,' p. 158. 

' Hasidism, *Spirit and Body of the Hasidic Movement,' p. 86; Introduction by 
Buber to Hermann Cohen, Der Ndchste (Berlin: Schocken Verlag, 1935), p. 6; 
Martin Buber, 'Kraft und Richtung, Klugheit und Weisheit' (From a letter), 
Das werdende Zeitalter, VII (1928), 97; Eclipse of God, 'The Love of God and the 
Idea of Deity,' p. 77 flF. 


The Redemption of Evil 
more divided between God and Satan, how dare we say that it is 
God's world? . . . Are we to establish a little realm of the righteous 
and leave the rest to the Lord? Is it for this that He gave us a mouth 
which can convey the truth of our heart to an alien heart and a 
hand which can communicate to the hand of our recalcitrant 
brother something of the warmth of our very blood?' ^ 

In between the self-righteous avoidance of the evil of others and the 
acceptance and willing of evil lies the diiEcult path of taking evil upon 
oneself without being corrupted by it and transforming it into love. 
This can be done only by the person who has himself reached maturity 
and quiet of soul. It cannot extend to removing another person's 
responsibility before God, but it can help him to escape the whirl into 
which the evil impulse has plunged him.^ 

Through genuine dialogical existence the real person takes part in the 
unfinished process of creation. Tt is only by way of true intercourse 
with things and beings that man achieves true life, but also it is by this 
way only that he can take an active part in the redemption of the 
world.' Redemption does not take place within the individual soul but 
in the world through the real meeting of God and man. Everything is 
waiting to be hallowed by man, for there is nothing so crass or base that 
it cannot become material for sanctification. *The profane,' forHasidism, 
is only a designation for the not yet sanctified. *Any natural act, if 
hallowed, leads to God.' The things that happen to one day after day 
contain one's essential task, for true fulfilled existence depends on our 
developing a genuine relationship to the people with whom we live and 
work, the animals that help us, the soil we till, the materials we shape, 
the tools we use. 'The most formidable power is intrinsically powerless- 
ness unless it maintains a secret covenant with these contacts, both 
humble and helpful, with strange, and yet near being.' ^ 

No renunciation of the object of desire is commanded: it is only 
necessary that man's relation to the object be hallowed in his life with 
nature, his work, his friendship, his marriage, and his solidarity with 
the community. Hence serving God with the *evil impulse' and 'hallow- 
ing the everyday' are essentially the same. 'Hallowing transforms the 
urges by confronting them with holiness and making them responsible 
toward what is holy.' * Transforming the evil passion into good cannot 
take place inside oneself but only in relation. It is just in his relations 

1 For the Sake of Heaven, pp. 121, 125. 

2 Ibid., p. 56; Tales of the Hasidim, The Early Masters, p. 4 ff. 

3 The Way of Man, pp. 21 f., 42-46; Hasidism, 'The Foundation Stone,' p. 58, 
'Spinoza,' p. Ill ; Israel and the World, 'The Two Foci of the Jewish Soul,' p. 34. 

* Hasidism, 'The Beginnings of Hasidism,' p. 31 f.; Israel and the World, 'The 
Power of the Spirit,' p. 180 f. 


The Nature and Redemption of Evil 
with others that man finds it possible to serve God with his fear, anger, 
love, and sexual desire. 

By no means . . . can it be our true task ... to turn away from 
the things and beings that we meet on our way and that attract our 
hearts; our task is precisely to get in touch, by hallowing our rela- 
tionship with them, with what manifests itself in them as beauty, 
pleasure, enjoyment. Hasidism teaches that rejoicing in the world, 
if we hallow it with our whole being, leads to rejoicing in God.^ 

The sanctification of the profane has nothing to do with pantheism, 
writes Buber. Pantheism 'destroys or stunts the greatest of all values : 
the reciprocal relationship between the human and the divine, the 
reality of the I and the Thou which does not cease at the rim of eternity.' 
It is because God dwells in the world that the world can be turned into 
a sacrament. But this does not mean that the world is objectively 
already a sacrament. It is only capable of becoming one through the 
redeeming contact with the individual. The foremost meaning of a 
sacrament is 'that the divine and the human join themselves to each 
other, without merging themselves in each other, a lived Beyond- 
transcendence-and-immanence.' This covenant also takes place when 
two human beings consecrate themselves to each other in marriage or 
in brotherhood, Tor the consecration does not come by the power of 
the human partners, but by the power of the eternal wings that over- 
shadow both.' Sacramental existence, like dialogical existence in 
general, involves a meeting with the other in which the eternal Thou 
manifests itself. The sacrament *is stripped of its essential character 
when it no longer includes an elemental, life-claiming and life-deter- 
mining experience of the other person, of the otherness, as of something 
coming to meet and acting hitherwards.' ^ 

The essence of the hallowing of the everyday is kavanah, or intention. 
Kavanah is identical with the readiness of the Single One to meet all 
that confronts him. This readiness is an inner preparation, a willingness 
to remain open and to respond from the depths of one's being, but it is 
not a preparation of the act itself. 

The substance of the act is ever supplied to us, or rather, it is 
offered us, by that which happens to us, which meets us — by every- 
thing which meets us. Everything desires to be hallowed ... in the 
kavanah of redemption in all its worldliness; everything desires to 
become a sacrament.^ 

^ The Way of Man, p. 20. 

* Tales of the Hasidim, The Early Masters, p. 3 ; Hasidism, The Foundation 
Stone,' p. 59, 'Spinoza,' p. 101 if., 'Symbolical and Sacramental Existence in 
Judaism,' pp. 117, 130. 

* Hasidism, 'Symbolical and Sacramental Existence,' p. 144. 


The Redemption of Evil 
The sacramental substance cannot be manipulated through special acts 
or intentions (kavanot). It can only be awakened in each object and act 
'through the presence of the whole man who wholly gives himself, 
through sacramental existence.' The essence of kavanah, accordingly, is 
the direction of the whole of one's being and power into each act. It is 
not the nature of the act but the kavanah which determines whether or 
not it is good or evil, holy or profane, strong or weak in redemptive 

The great kavanah does not ally itself with any selection of what 
has been prescribed; everything which is done with that can be the 
right, the redeeming act. Each act may be the one on which all 
depends; the determining factor lies in the strength and concentra- 
tion with which I do the hallowing.^ 

The basis for the Hasidic attitude toward redemption is the belief that 
redemption, like creation, takes place at every moment. Man's work is 
enclosed in God's in such a way that each moment of redemption is 
perfect in itself as well as taking place in the time series of the world. 
These are not moments of *a mystical, timeless now.' Each moment is 
filled with all time, for in it true presentness and the movement of 
history are united. This union of history and the moment involves a 
tension and a contradiction, for although redemption takes place at 
every moment, there is no definite moment in the present or the future 
in which the redemption of the world could be pronounced as having 
taken place once for all. 'God's redeeming power is at work everywhere 
and at all times, but ... a state of redemption exists nowhere and never.' 
Historical deed means the surmounting of the suffering inherent in 
human being, but it also means the piling up of new suffering through 
the repeated failure of each individual and each people to become what 
it was meant to be. The right answer to the divine revelation is an entire, 
undivided human life. 'But splitting up is the historical way of mankind, 
and the unsplit persons cannot do anything more than raise man to a 
higher level on which he may thereafter follow his course.' ^ 

The core of the Messianic hope does not belong to eschatology and 
the margin of history where it vanishes into the timeless but to 'the 
centre, the ever-changing centre ... to the experienced hour and its 
possibility.' The Messiah, the righteous one, must rise out of the 
historic loam of man, out of the dramatic mystery of the One facing the 
other. Redemption is not dependent upon Messianic calculations or any 
apocalyptic event, but on the unpremeditated turning of our whole 
world-life to God. This turning is open to the whole of mankind and to 

^ Ibid., p. 134, 'Spirit and Body of the Hasidic Movement,' p. 72 f., The 
Beginnings of Hasidism,' p. 28. 

2 Ibid., 'Spinoza,' p. HI ; Moses, op. cit., pp. 88, 199. 


The Nature and Redemption of Evil 
all ages, for all are face to face with redemption and all action for God's 
sake is Messianic action. As every sinner can find forgiveness, so every 
civilization can be hallowed, writes Buber, and this hallowing can take 
place without primitivizing or curtailment.^ 

The Jewish belief in redemption is not first of all pistis, faith in the 
proposition that redemption will come at some future date, but emunah, 
trust in God whose oneness also implies the ultimate oneness of God 
and the world. This trust in the ultimate oneness of God and the world 
is a faith in the power of the spirit to penetrate and transform all 
impulses and desires, to uplift and sanctify everything material. It is 
the faith *that there is really only One Power which, while at it 
may permit the sham powers of the world to accomplish something in 
opposition to it, never permits such accomplishment to stand.' But this 
trust in God does not imply any illusions about the present state of the 
world. 'The unredeemed soul refuses to give up the evidence of the un- 
redeemed world from which it suffers, to exchange it for the soul's own 
salvation.' The Jew experiences the world's lack of redemption perhaps 
more intensely than any other group, writes Buber. He feels it against 
his skin, tastes it on his tongue. 

He always discovers only that mysterious intimacy of light out of 
darkness which is at work everywhere and at all times; no redemp- 
tion which is different in kind, none which by its nature would be 
unique, which would be conclusive for future ages, and which had 
but to be consummated. 2 

Judaism does not neglect spiritual inwardness, as Simone Weil 
believed, but neither is it content with it. It demands that inward truth 
become real life if it is to remain truth: 'A drop of Messianic consum- 
mation must be mingled with every hour; otherwise the hour is godless, 
despite all piety and devoutness.' The corollary of this demand for the 
redemption of the world and not just of the individual soul is the refusal 
to accept the Gnostic rejection of creation — the division between the 
kingdom of this world and the kingdom of God which leaves the evil 
of the world forever unredeemable. 'The world is reality, and it is 
reality created not to be overcome but to be hallowed.' Judaism cannot 
accept a redemption in which half of the world will be eternally damned 

^ Martin Buber, The Prophetic Faith, trans, by Canon Witton Davies (New York: 
The MacmiUan Co., 1949), pp. 137, 142, 144; Hasidism, 'Spirit of the Hasidic 
Movement,' pp. 70, 74 ff., 'Spinoza,' pp. 112, 116; Israel and the World, 'The Faith 
of Judaism,' p. 21; Between Man and Man, 'What Is Man?', p. 142; At the Turning, 
pp. 21 ff., 50 f.; Two Types of Faith, p. 170 f.; cf. Images of Good and Evil , p. 26. 

* Two Types of Faith, p. 168 f.; Israel and the World, 'The Power of the Spj-it,' 
p. 180 ff., 'And If Not Now, When?', p. 237 f., 'The Two Foci of the Jewish Soul,' 
p. 34 f. 


The Redemption of Evil 

or cut off from God: *There can be no eternity in which everything will 
not be accepted into God's atonement.* ^ 

What saved Judaism is not, as the Marcionites imagine, the fact 
that it failed to experience *the tragedy,' the contradiction in the 
world's process, deeply enough; but rather that it experienced the 
contradiction as theophany. This very worid, this very contradiction, 
unabridged, unmitigated, unsmoothed, unsimplified, unreduced, 
this world shall be — not overcome — but consummated. ... It is a 
redemption not from the evil, but of the evil, as the power which 
God created for his service and for the performance of his work.^ 

This universal at-onement finds expression in the Jewish concept of 
yihud, or unification. Yihud is the proclamation of the oneness of God — 
not the passive acknowledgment of this oneness, a statement of a 
subject about an object, but an act of meeting, *the dynamic form of 
the divine unity itself.' It does not take place through creedal profession 
or magic manipulation, but through the concrete meeting of I and Thou 
by which the profane is sanctified and the mundane hallowed. It is *the 
continually renewed confirmation of the unity of the Divine in the 
manifold nature of His manifestations.' This confirmation must be 
understood in a quite practical way: it is brought about through man's 
remaining true *in the face of the monstrous contradictions of life, and 
especially in the face of . . . the duality of good and evil.' The unification 
which thus takes place *is brought about not to spite these contradic- 
tions, but in a spirit of love and reconciliation.' ^ 

The 'national universalism' of the prophets, writes Buber, looks to 
each people to contribute to redemption in its own particular way. This 
national universalism, in Buber's opinion, is the only answer to the 
present conflict between national sovereignty and the need for inter- 
national co-operation: 'A new humanity capable of standing up to the 
problems of our time can come only from the co-operation of national 
particularities, not from their being levelled out of existence.' The full 
response to God's address to mankind must be made not only as 
individuals but as peoples, and not as peoples taken as ends in them- 
selves but as *holy peoples' working toward redemption through 
establishing the kingship of God. To become a *holy people' means, for 
Israel and for all peoples, to realize God's attribute of justice in the 
indirect relations of the people with one another and His attribute of 
love in their direct relations. It means the fulfilment of God's truth and 

1 At the Turning, pp. 34-40; Israel and the World, 'The Faith of Judaism,' p. 25 if., 
'The Two Foci of the Jewish Soul,* p. 34 ff., 'The Man of Today and the Jewish 
Bible,' p. 101, 'The Spirit of Israel and the World of Today,' p. 191 f. 

2 Israel and the World, 'The Faith of Judaism,' p. 26. 

» Ibid., p. 15; Hasidism, 'Spirit of the Hasidic Movement,' p. 78. 


The Nature and Redemption of Evil 
justice on earth. To drive the plowshare of the normative principle into 
the hard sod of poHtical fact' is *a tremendously difficult undertaking,' 
writes Buber, *but the right to lift a historical moment into the light of 
superhistory can be bought no cheaper.' ^ 

This fulfilment can only take place if the synthesis of people, land, 
and work results in the coming to be of a true community, for only in 
true community can justice and love be realized and the people hallowed. 
'AH holiness means union between being and thing, between being and 
being; the highest rung of world-holiness, however, is the unity of the 
human community in the sight of God.' Only a true community can 
demonstrate the Absolute and point the way to the kingdom of God : 
'Though something of righteousness may become evident in the life of 
the individual, righteousness itself can only become wholly visible in 
the structures of the life of a people.' The righteousness of a people, in 
turn, must be based upon real communities, composed of real families, 
real neighbourhoods, and real settlements, and upon 'the relationships 
of a fruitful and creative peace with its neighbours.' The peacemaker 'is 
God's fellow-worker,' but we make peace not by conciliatory words and 
humane projects but through making peace 'wherever we are destined 
and summoned to do so : in the active life of our own community and 
in that aspect of it which can actively help determine its relationship to 
another community.' ^ 

The decisive test of brotherhood is not within the community but at 
the boundary between community and community, people and people, 
church and church, for this is the place where diversity of kind and 
mind is felt most strongly. 'Every time we stand this test a new step is 
taken toward a true humanity, gathered in the name of God.' One of 
the central emphases of Buber's Zionism, correspondingly, has been his 
insistence that the Jews live with the Arabs and not just next to them.^ 
For many years one of the leaders of //zw^ (Unity) and of the League for 
Jewish- Arab Rapprochement and Co-operation, Buber wrote in 1939 
in an open letter to Gandhi : 

I belong to a group of people who from the time Britain con- 
quered Palestine have not ceased to strive for the conclusion of a 
genuine peace between Jew and Arab. By a genuine peace we 
inferred and still infer that both peoples together should develop 

^ Israel and Palestine, pp. 118, 136; At the Turning, pp. 37 f., 24. 

2 Martin Buber, 'Der Chaluz und seine Welt' (Aus einer Rede), Almanack des 
Schocken Verlag auf das Jahr 5697 (1936-37), p. 89 f.; Kampf um Israel, pp. 25 f. 
(my translation), 253, 268 f., 273; Israel and the World, 'The Spirit of Israel and the 
World of Today,' pp. 186 f., 193, 'The Gods of the Nations and God,' p. 210, 'And 
If Not Now, When?', p. 239. 

3 The first two sentences are from an unpublished address by Buber on 'Fraternity' 
to the World Brotherhood Association in California in 1952; Kampf um Israel, p. 451 . 


The Redemption of Evil 
the land without the one imposing its will on the other. In view of 
the international usages of our generation, this appeared to us to 
be very difficult but not impossible.^ 

Whether Buber speaks of the establishment of community or religious 
redemption, his goal is *the goal of the ages,' and the way to that goal 
is through the fulfilment and redemption of individual human beings 
in direct and upright relation with one another. 

*Never will a work of man have a good issue if we do not think of 
the souls whom it is given us to help, and of the life between soul 
and soul, and of our life with them and of their lives with each 
other. We cannot help the coming of redemption if life does not 
redeem life.' ^ 

Although in the final analysis the only thing that can help is what is 
true and right, in an emergency this is not always possible. Living 
entails doing injustice : the fact that we cannot breathe and eat without 
destroying organic life has symbolic meaning for our human existence. 
But the humanity of our existence begins there where we say: We shall 
do no more injustice than we must to live. Only then do we become 
responsible to this life, and this responsibility cannot be laid down 
according to any set principle but must be ever again recognized in the 
depths of the soul according to the demands of each concrete situation. 

In order to preserve the community of men, we are often com- 
pelled to accept wrongs in decisions concerning the community. 
But what matters is that in every hour of decision we are aware of 
our responsibility and summon our conscience to weigh exactly 
how much is necessary to preserve the community, and accept just 
so much and no more; . . . that we . . . struggle with destiny in fear 
and trembling lest it burden us with greater guilt than we are 
compelled to assume.^ 

^ Towards Union in Palestine, op. cit., p. 120; Israel and the World, 'The Land 
and Its Possessors' (From an Open Letter to Gandhi), p. 231 f. Cf. Martin Buber 
and J. L. Magnes, Two Letters to Gandhi OtvusdAem: Reuben Mass, 1939), pp. 10-20. 

2 For the Sake of Heaven, p. 256. 

' Israel and the World, 'Hebrew Humanism,' p. 246 ff., Kampfum Israel, p. 438 f. 
Cf. 'Our Reply,' op. cit., p. 34 f. In his open letter to Gandhi, Buber wrote: 'We 
have not proclaimed ... the teaching of non-violence, because we believe that a 
man must sometimes use force to save himself or even more his children. But . . . 
we have taught and we have learnt that peace is the aim of all the world and that 
justice is the way to attain it. . . . No one who counts himself in the ranks of Israel 
can desire to use force.' Page 19 f. 'I am forced to withstand the evil in the world 
just as the evil within myself. I can only strive not to have to do so by force. . . . 
But if there is no other way of preventing the evil destroying the good, I trust I shall 
use force and give myself up to God's hands.' Page 20 f. 


The Nature and Redemption of Evil 

True community is the link between the social Utopia of modern 
man and the direct theocracy of the Bible. This does not mean, writes 
Buber, that reUgious socialism and the kingdom of God are to be 
identified. The one is man's action while the other cannot be completed 
without God's grace. But neither can they be separated, for man's action 
and God's grace are intimately bound together. The essence of Buber's 
religious socialism is his belief that the centre of community must be 
the relation of the individual members of the community to God. 
Though the Single One 'cannot win to a legitimate relation with God 
without a legitimate relation to the body politic,' the prior relation is 
that with God, for this is *the defining force.' The importance of Hasi- 
dism does not lie in its teaching, writes Buber, but in its *mode of life 
which shapes a community.' Yet Hasidic life is characterized first of all 
by its wholly personal mode of faith, and it is only through the action 
of this faith that a community is formed.^ 

True community cannot be built on the basis of either new institu- 
tions, on the one hard, or individual good-will, on the other, so long 
as the relations between men remain fundamentally unchanged. The 
absence of directness in the relations between men in the modern world 
can only be overcome by men who respond to the concrete situations 
which confront them with openness and with all of their power, by men 
who mean community in their innermost heart and establish it in their 
natural sphere of relations. Such men do not proceed out of community ; 
they prove themselves ready for community by living genuinely with 
other men. Genuine education for conmaunity is identical, therefore, 
with genuine education of character — the education of real persons who 
deny no answer to life and the world but are ready to respond out of a 
living unity to everything essential that they meet.^ 

To establish true community man must rise in rebellion against the 
illusion of modern collectivism: he must rescue his real personal self 
from the domination of the collective. The first step in this rebellion 
must be to smash the false alternative of our epoch — that of individual- 
ism and collectivism. In its place he must put the vital, living knowledge 
that *the fundamental fact of human existence is man with man.' This 
knowledge can only be attained through man's personal engagement, 
through his entering with his whole being into dialogue. The central 
question for the fate of mankind, accordingly, the question on the 

1 Martin Buber, Konigtum Gottes, Vol. I of Das Kommende. Untersuchungen zur 
Entstehungsgeschichte des Messianischen Glaubens (Berlin: Schocken Verlag, 1932), 
p. 144; Kampf um Israel, p. 260 f.; Martin Buber, *Drei Satze eines religiosen 
Sozialismus,' Neue Wege, Zurich, XXII (1928), No. 7/8, 328; Between Man and Man, 
'The Question to the Single One,' p. 76; Hasidism, 'The Beginnings of Hasidism,' 
p. If. 

2 Kampf um Israel, pp. 268 f., 273, 291 f.; Between Man and Man, 'The Education 
of Character,' p. 116. 


The Redemption of Evil 
answer to which the future of man as man depends, is the rebirth of 
dialogue. This means, above all, the overcoming of the massive existen- 
tial mistrust in ourselves and others, for it is this that stands in the way 
of genuine relation between man and man.^ 

The will to overcoming this existential mistrust must begin with a 
'criticism of criticism' which will assign proper boundary lines to those 
newly discovered elements by means of which the sociological and 
psychological theorists have attempted to unmask and *see through' the 
motivations of individuals and groups of men. Man is not to be 'seen 
through' but 'to be perceived ever more completely in his openness and 
his hiddenness and in the relation of the two to each other.' This is a 
clearsighted trust of man which perceives his manifoldness and whole- 
ness without any preconceptions about his background and which 
accepts, accredits, and confirms him to the extent that this perception 
will allow. Only those who can in this way overcome the mistrust in 
themselves and recognize the other in the reality of his being can 
contribute to the re-establishment of genuine dialogue between men.^ 

Only through this renewal of immediacy between man and man can 
we again experience immediacy in the dialogue with God. 'When the 
man who has become solitary can no longer say "Thou" to the "dead" 
known God, everything depends on whether he can still say it to the 
living unknown God by saying "thou" with all his being to another 
living and known man.' If after long silence and stammering we 
genuinely say Thou to men who are unlike ourselves and whom we 
recognize in all their otherness, then we shall have addressed our eternal 
Thou anew.^ Before we can genuinely address the Thou, however, we 
must escape from that modern idolatry which leads us to sacrifice 'the 
ethical' on the altar of our particular causes. A new conscience must 
arise in men which will summon them to guard with the innermost 
power of their souls against the confusion of the relative with the 

To penetrate again and again into the false absolute with an in- 
corruptible, probing glance until one has discovered its limits, its 
limitedness — there is today perhaps no other way to reawaken the 
power of the pupil to glimpse the never-vanishing appearance of 
the Absolute.* 

We have to deal with the meaningless till the last moment, writes 
Buber in a comment on Franz Kafka, but in the very act of suffering its 
contradiction we experience an inner meaning. This meaning is not at 

1 Between Man and Man, 'What Is Man?', p. 201 ff. ; 'Hope for This Hour,' op. cit. 
« 'Hope for This Hour.' 

» Ibid.; Between Man and Man, 'What Is Man?', p. 168. 
* Eclipse of God, 'On the Suspension of the Ethical,' p. 155 f. 


The Nature and Redemption of Evil 

all agreeable to us yet it is turned toward us, and it 'pushes straight 
through all the foulness to the chambers of our hearts.' Kafka depicted 
the course of the world in gloomier colours than ever before, yet he also 
proclaimed emunah anew, *with a still deepened "in spite of all this," 
quite soft and shy, but unambiguous.' *So must Emunah change in a 
time of God's eclipse in order to preserve steadfast to God, without 
disowning reality.' The eclipse of the light of God is no extinction. 
Although the I-Thou relation has gone into the catacombs, something 
is taking place in the depths that even tomorrow may bring it forth with 
new power. Until this happens it is worthier not to explain the eclipse 
'in sensational and incompetent sayings, such as that of the "death" of 
God, but to endure it as it is and at the same time to move existentially 
toward a new happening ... in which the word between heaven and 
earth will again be heard.' ^ The cry of the Job of the Bible and the 
Job of the gas chambers must become our own. We too must contend 
with God. 

We do not put up with earthly being, we struggle for its redemp- 
tion, and struggling we appeal to the help of our Lord, Who is 
again and still a hiding one. In such a state we await His voice, 
whether it come out of the storm or out of the stillness which 
follows it. Though His coming appearance resemble no earlier one, 
we shall recognize again our cruel and merciful Lord.^ 

^ Kampf um Israel, 'Ein Wort iiber Franz Kafka,' p. 213; Two Types of Faith, 
p. 168 f.; Eclipse of God, 'God and the Spirit of Man,' p. 167, 'Religion and Modern 
Thinking,' p. 91. 

^ At the Turning, p. 61 f. 



IT is Buber's chronicle-novel Gog und Magog {For the Sake of Heaven) 
which, in Karl Kerenyi's opinion, has won for Buber a secure place 
among the ranks of classical writers. This work is breath-taking even 
more for its insights into the phenomena of the spirit than for its per- 
fection of style, writes Kerenyi. It belongs to the heights of prose epicry 
next to such master works as Thomas Mann's Erwdhlten and Per 
Lagerqvist's Barrabbas. The great achievement of this chronicle is its 
evocation of fighters of the spirit who are without comparison in the 
whole of epic world literature in the ardour and exclusiveness of the 
unfolding of their religious powers. 

Martin Buber has also accomplished this great feat: he has 
allowed the good and the evil, the holy and the dangerous to appear 
in his own and his most beloved sphere. His chronicle rises above 
conditions of time and people as does every work which is a 
'classic' ^ 

In For the Sake of Heaven Buber has given a vivid and dramatic 
embodiment to his attitude toward evil and its redemption. This does 
not mean, as Buber points out, that he wrote this chronicle in order to 
give a definitive expression to his teaching. He wrote it rather to point 
to a reality, a reality which is so real in the actual events that occurred 
that he needed only supply the connecting links in the spirit of the 
existing facts and sayings in order to make it complete. 'He who expects 
from me a teaching which ^s anything other than a pointing of this kind 
will always be disappointed,' writes Buber. While there is no doubt that 
Buber's sympathies lie mainly with one side of the conflict he portrays, 
he did not write the book until he felt that he had penetrated to the 
essence of the happenings on both sides. He could not give himself to 
the service of one of the two sides and still do this. Therefore, the only 
acceptable standpoint was that of tragedy. By this Buber does not mean 
tragedy in the classical Aristotelian sense of the downfall of a hero, but 
1 Kerenyi, op. cit., pp. 96-99. 

The Nature and Redemption of Evil 

rather tragedy in a profounder sense of two men living in opposition to 
each other, each just as that which he is. The opposition here is not one 
between a *good' and an *evil' will, but the cruel opposition of existence 
itself. Buber writes that for twenty-five years he was unable to write 
this novel as it should be written. But as a result of the Second World 
War, with its atmosphere of a tellurian crisis, the frightful waging of 
power, and the signs here and there of a false Messianic, the novel 
wrote itself.^ 

In its external form For the Sake of Heaven is a historical novel built 
around the conflicts of two Hasidic communities during the Napoleonic 
wars. The main characters of the novel were actually famous zaddikim 
of the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, and the relations 
between them which Buber describes are based on actual Hasidic manu- 
scripts and legends. The two main characters are Jaacob Yitzhak, the 
Seer of Lublin, and his disciple, Jaacob Yitzhak, called *the holy 
Yehudi,' or simply *the Yehudi,* who founded the congregation of 
Pshysha. Buber says of the Seer in his Introduction to The Tales of the 
Hasidim, The Early Masters: 

He was filled with ceaseless waiting for the hour of redemption 
and finally initiated and played the chief part in the secret rites 
which he and certain other zaddikim . . . performed with the pur- 
pose of converting the Napoleonic wars into the pre-Messianic 
final battle of Gog and Magog. The three leaders in this mystic 
procedure all died in the course of the following year. They had 
'forced the end,' they died at its coming. The magic, which the Baal 
Shem had held in check, broke loose and did its work of destruc- 

Of the Yehudi, Buber says in Tales of the Hasidim, The Later Masters: 

The Yehudi kept on the other side of the reahn of magic which 
the Seer and his friends entered at that time in an attempt to reach 
the Messianic sphere by aff'ecting current events; he did not wish 
to hasten the end, but to prepare man for the end.^ 

We can best get at the heart of For the Sake of Heaven by extracting 
from it those parts that deal with the character of the Seer and the 
Yehudi and with the encounters between them. We are told that when 
the Seer was born he *saw' from one end of the world to the other, but 
that he 'was so dismayed by the flood of evil which he beheld engulfing 
the earth,' that he begged that his vision be limited. Yet he was passion- 

1 For the Sake of Heaven, 2nd Edition, op. cit., 'Preface'; Gog und Magog, op. cit., 
'Nachwort,' pp. 401-408. 

^ Tales of the Hasidim, The Early Masters, op. cit., p. 33; Martin Buber, Tales 
of the Hasidim, The Later Masters (New York: Schocken Books, 1948), p. 35. 


For the Sake of Heaven 
ately concerned with sinners and preferred the evil-doer who knew that 
he was evil to the just man who knew that he was just. He was greatly 
interested in the evil impulse, *seeing that without it there is no manner 
of fruitfulness, whether of the body or the spirit.' Yet he pointed out 
*that fruitfulness alone does not suffice; the test is the quaUty of the 
fruit brought forth.* Despite his advice to avoid melancholy with all 
one's might because it promotes the feeling that one is a slave to sin, 
the Seer found himself troubled by the fact that he lightened the heart 
of others yet himself remained heavy of heart. This may have been 
because the power of his eyes was not equalled by the greatness of his 
heart. Buber describes him in another work as at once humble and 
proud and as too wrapped up in his personal world of spiritual urges 
to have a real relation with those outside him.^ 

The Yehudi is pictured as a younger man of great strength and 
sincerity who is unusual in his combination of deep study and fervent 
ecstatic prayer. He is spoken of as a man who does not know anger, 
yet he angers many of his contemporary Hasidim because of the ir- 
regularity of his hours of prayer and his insistence on inward spiritual 
preparation before praying. He is marked by an intense concern for the 
truth as something to live and fight for and by the unusual suffering 
which arises out of his identification with the sufferings of the exiled 

The Yehudi comes to Lublin because he hears that the Seer 'consorts 
with good and evil,' and it is with good and evil that the Seer's first 
sermon after his arrival deals. The two first human beings knew good 
and evU, it relates, in terms of what things were forbidden and what 
were not. But the serpent clearly referred to a diff"erent type of knowing 
when he said that they had to become as God to know good and evil. 
They would know good and evil as one who creates both, i.e. not as 
something to do or not to do, but as two contradictory forms of being. 
But God knows good and evil as clearly opposed whereas the *"first 
human beings, so soon as they had eaten of the fruit of the tree, knew 
good and evil as blended and confused.'" Through God's self-limitation 
{tsimtsum) He has given genuine power to every human bemg with 
which he may rebel against God. The good consists of man's turning to 
God with the whole of this power to do evil. God really tempts man, 
moreover, and demands that he give up everything and go through 
the extremity of danger and the gate of dread before he can receive the 
grace which enables him to love God "*in the manner in which only 
He can be loved.'" But the serpent "Hamted the truth of temptation 
with a lie'" because he prevented man from standing veraciously face 
to face with whatever impels him to act in contradiction to God's word. 

1 For the Sake of Heaven, pp. 4-7; Tales of the Hasidim, The Later Masters, 
p. 34. 


The Nature and Redemption of Evil 

Nevertheless, even the primeval darkness serves God's purpose, for 
where it weighs most heavily it causes a seed of light to awaken. And 
even though, fearful of the coming of light, it swells and extends beyond 
the boundary assigned to it, *'*it never succeeds in smothering the seed 
of light.'" The hidden power of the light grows although *"it is full of 
soreness and sorrow'" until the final conflict in which the flame of the 
black fire will roll over the peoples of the world and '"challenge God 
Himself to combat.'" Thus will arise Gog of the land of Magog who 
will lead the final battle of the darkness against the light and will be 
struck down by the Messiah Himself. 

Thus the redemption of God waxes in secret and through the very 
evil which tries to destroy it; for even the power of destruction derives 
originally from God. The yod, or dot, in Shaddai, the name of God, 
*"is the primeval originating point of creation which, prior to any 
creative act, stood above the radiance of God.'" 

*It is by virtue of this dot that the awful power of God, which at 
any moment could utterly devastate and annihilate the world, 
brings about the world's redemption instead. . . . We come to learn 
about the darkness when we enter into the gate of fear, and we 
come to learn about the light, when we issue forth from that gate; 
but we come to learn about that dot only when we reach love.' ^ 

It is after this sermon that the Yehudi has his first important en- 
counter with the Seer. Unlike the Seer he views the power of Gog not 
as a primeval, metaphysical evil but as the power of evil within us, and 
it is precisely this inner evil which troubles him. One helps others by 
meeting their evil lovingly. Otherwise than lovingly one cannot help 
them. Hatred and condemnation of the evil-doer will make him evil 
himself and not just in his actions, for it will cause him to cut himself 
off and imprison himself in the world of his actions. But what am I to 
do with the evil within me, asks the Yehudi, '"where no element of 
strangeness has divisive force and no love has redeeming force'"? It is 
there that one directly experiences an evil which would compel one to 
use the powers of one's own soul to betray God. 

To the Yehudi's question of how 'to prevent the evil from using the 
good in order to crush it,' the Seer responds that God Himself uses evil. 
The Yehudi's answer to this statement reveals clearly his fundamental 
opposition to the Seer. The Seer believes that the zaddik may use evil 
for the purpose of the good because the eff'ect of one's actions depends 
on God alone. The Yehudi, on the other hand, believes that mortal 
good which seeks to make use of evil drowns and dissolves in that evil 
so that it no longer exists. At the same time, he believes that what God 

* For the Sake of Heaven, pp. 42-48, 58. 

For the Sake of Heaven 
demands of him is to learn to endure the evil which He endures. To 
endure evil is to meet the temptation which confronts one, but it does 
not mean to allow oneself to be compelled by it. ^Freedom dwells with 
God,' and human beings have a share in this very freedom which 
prevents them from being compelled.^ 

Later when the Seer develops the implications of his sermon on Gog 
and Magog into the statement that the Hasidim must strive to intensify 
the conflict on earth so that it may hasten the coming of the Messiah, 
the Yehudi tells the Rabbi that he does not believe in miraculous 
happenings which contradict the course of nature, but regards the 
miraculous and the natural as two aspects of the same thing — as God's 
pointing finger, or revelation, and God's creative hand, or creation. 
The miracle is 'our receptivity to the eternal revelation' and therefore 
does not take place through magic and incantations but through open- 
ness to God. Similarly the coming of redemption depends not upon our 
power or on the practice of magic incantation over mysterious forces, 
but on our repentance and our return to God. 

So long as man still deems that there is a counsel for him by 
virtue of which he can liberate himself, so long he is still far from 
liberation ... for so long does the Lord still hide His countenance 
from him. Not until man despairs of himself and turns to God with 
the entire force of that despair . . . will help be given him.^ 

At the Seer's suggestion the Yehudi leaves him and founds a congre- 
gation of his own. He remains a loyal disciple of the Seer's, however, 
despite the latter's growing hatred and distrust of him. By this time the 
lines of the conflict are clearly drawn: The Seer trusts in magic, the 
Yehudi in grace, the Seer tries to 'hasten the end' while the Yehudi 
concerns himself with hallowing the everyday and with the turning of 
the individual to God; the Seer is concerned with keeping the light pure 
and building the power of darkness while the Yehudi is concerned with 
helping the light pierce the darkness. It is not surprising, therefore, that 
the Yehudi' s congregation should develop along lines radically difi'erent 
from those of the Seer's. Through his own emphasis on the divine 
power of the zaddik and through the awe of his disciples, the Seer holds 
the place of an oriental potentate in his congregation. The Yehudi, on 
the other hand, preserves an informal and democratic relation with his 
disciples. He sits among them on a temporary seat, 'so that, despite the 
deep seriousness of his leadership, the picture presented was one of an 
uncomplicated and familiar comradeship.' The Seer uses the spiritual 
power of his disciples as a magic force to hasten the coming of redemp- 
tion, while the Yehudi helps his disciples find the path that 'they seek 

^Ibid., pp. 58-61. 

nbid., pp. 37-38, 62, 99 f., 108-113. 

The Nature and Redemption of Evil 

to pursue of themselves and for their own sake.' It is this very path 
which the individual must take for the sake of the Shekinah.^ 

The Yehudi founds his congregation on a positive and coherent body 
of teaching, and it is in this teaching that v^^e can most clearly find 
Buber's own wisdom and belief. Lowly as man is, the Yehudi tells a 
disciple, he contains vdthin him the image of God and is in relation to 
Him. Nor is man wholly without power in this relationship. He cannot 
exercise a magic influence upon God through conscious striving, and 
such striving is itself a proof of his failure. But when he seeks to effect 
nothing and turns himself to God, then he is not without effect. Man's 
turning is not for the sake of individual redemption alone. It is also for 
the sake of the Shekinah. For the sake of the Shekinah we must set free 
good from evil wherever we meet them blended together, and we must 
do this first of all within ourselves.^ 

Immeasurable possibilities of redemption lie in individual souls and 
in the relations between these souls, the Yehudi teaches. But redemption 
of the individual cannot take place in isolation. He must find his realiza- 
tion in community. A communal life of justice, love, and consecration 
such as Pshysha embodied is itself the greatest force for redemption, for 
redemption depends simply upon our return to the good, and it is in 
community that the relation to God and man can take its most positive 
form. The Yehudi teaches that redemption is at hand and cannot wait 
until future lives, and at the same time he teaches that it depends on 
our turning to the good.^ He thus transforms the apocalyptic tension 
which accompanied the expectation of the Messiah into the 'hallowing 
of the everyday,' and he loses none of the force of this tension in so 
doing. On the contrary, his single-mindedness results in a heightening 
of spiritual tension, for he concentrates his being in what he is doing at 
the moment rather than using that moment as a means to some future 

A statement of the Yehudi's in regard to his enemies shows parti- 
cularly clearly the basis of his faith in the ultimate redemption of evil : 

*"You are not to think that those who persecute me do so out of 
an evil heart. The heart of man is not evil; only its 'imagination,' 
is so; that is to say what it produces and devises aribitrarily, 
separating itself from the goodness of creation, that is the thing 
called evil. Even so it is with those; the fundamental motive of their 
persecution of me is to serve Heaven.'" 

On the other hand, the Yehudi does not believe that the redemption of 
evil is something that can take place quickly and easily or without great 

1 For the Sake of Heaven, pp. 145 f., 223 f., 230, 249. 

2 Ibid., pp. 35, 115-121, 185, 213 f., 249, 255. 

3 Ibid., pp. 230 f., 246, 256, 265. 


For the Sake of Heaven 
suffering. To redeem evil is to reunite God with His Shekinah, and this 
is the ultimate task to which all the ages of men must consecrate their 
lives. This task can only be fulfilled if men return to the good, and the 
return to the good is bom out of suffering and despair. Only in the 
depths of suffering and despair do men come to know grace.^ 

When the Yehudi first arrives in LubUn, the exile of the Shekinah is 
already his greatest concern. Required to tell a story to the disciples, he 
tells of a wagoner who demanded his help to lift a wagon and then told 
him after he had lifted it that it was upset in order that he might help. 
He interprets this story in terms of the exile of the Shekinah: 

The road of the world ... is the road upon which we all fare 
onward to meet the death of the body. And the places in which 
we meet the Shechinah are those in which good and evil are blended, 
whether without us or within us. In the anguish of the exile which 
it suffers, the Shechinah looks at us and its glance beseeches us to 
set free good from evil. If it be but the tiniest fragment of pure 
good, which is brought to Ught, the Shechinah is helped thereby. ^ 

The Yehudi at one point ascribes his inability to be a good husband 
or father to the fact that he suffers in himself the exile of the Shekinah. 
But later in his life he has a vision which suggests that his service to the 
Shekinah is impaired by his inadequacy in his relation to the created 

The Yehudi beheld a woman swathed from her head to her ankles 
in a black veil. Only her feet were naked and through the shallow 
water in which they stood it could be seen that dust, as from long 
wayfaring on an open road, covered them. But they also bore 
bleeding wounds. 

The woman spoke : T am weary unto death, for ye have hunted 
me down. I am sick unto death, for ye have tormented me. I am 
shamed, for ye have denied me. Ye are the tyrants, who keep me in 

*When ye are hostile to each other, ye hunt me down. When ye 
plot evil against each other, ye torment me. When ye slander each 
other, ye deny me. Each of you exiles his comrades and so together 
ye exile me. 

*And thou thyself, Jaacob Yitzhak, dost thou mind how thou 
meantest to follow me and estrangedst thyself from me the more? 
One cannot love me and abandon the created being. I am in truth 
with you. Dream not that my forehead radiates heavenly beams. 
The ^ory has remained above. My face is that of the created being.' 

She raised the veil from her face and he recognized the face.^ 

1 Ibid., pp. 278, 202, 282, ^ /^/^.^ pp. 32-35. ' Ibid., pp. 228-230. 


The Nature and Redemption of Evil 
The face that the Yehudi recognizes is probably that of his first wife, 
whom he had abandoned for the sake of God. The naked feet refer to 
an early experience of the Yehudi' s — the experience of being tempted 
one night by the entrance into his room of a woman in a nightgown and 
with bare feet.^ The Yehudi jumps out of the window to avoid being 
compelled by her beauty and by his burning compassion for her 
humanity. The reference to this incident in the dream might suggest 
that the Yehudi's denial of the Shekinah lay in his having fled from his 
*evil impulses' rather than having used them creatively in his relations 
with others. 

The Yehudi did not have an opportunity to complete his work. He 
died before he was fifty, in the fullness of his strength. The story of his 
death is enveloped in more mystery than that of any other zaddik' 
writes Buber in Tales of the Hasidim, The Later Masters. Buber relates 
there several diff^erent legends concerning the Yehudi's death. From 
these he has chosen for his chronicle the one which is at once the 
strangest and the most characteristic of the relations between the Seer 
and the Yehudi as he has described them in the rest of the chronicle. 
According to this version, the Seer asks the Yehudi to die *so that 
through the Yehudi the Seer might learn from the upper world what 
next step to take in the great Messianic enterprise.' ^ 

Despite the unusual nature of this request, the reader is not un- 
prepared either for the request or its fulfilment. The Seer has continued 
to ask the Yehudi to co-operate in his enterprises even after the latter 
removed to Pshysha, and the Yehudi has co-operated in so far as he 
could conscientiously do so. Moreover, the Yehudi's loyalty to the Seer 
has remained unwavering despite the latter's hatred and suspicion. The 
Yehudi's disciple Benjamin pleads with him not to obey the Seer. To 
this the Yehudi replies that to be a Hasid means that one will not refuse 
to give his life. But Benjamin asks him how he can bring a message to 
the Seer when he is opposed to all his goings-on. 

"'How foolishly you speak, Benjamin," he replied and smiled; 
yes, truly, he smiled. "If one is permitted to bring a message from 
the world of truth, it is bound to be a message of truth!'" 

Shortly before his death, the Yehudi reveals once again his insight 
that external evil has its roots in the inner evil of the human heart. He 
speaks to Rabbi Bunam of "'the three hours of speechless horror after 
the tumult of the wars of Gog and Magog and before the coming of the 
Messiah."' These hours '"will be much more difficult to endure than 
all the tumult and thunder, and . . . only he who endures them will see 
the Messiah.'" 

^ I am indebted to Professor Buber for these interpretations. 
^ Tales of the Hasidim, The Later Masters, p. 35. 

For the Sake of Heaven 

*But all the conflicts of Gog and Magog arise out of those evil 
forces which have not been overcome in the conflict against the 
Gogs and Magogs who dwell in human hearts. And those three 
hours mirror what each one of us must endure after all the conflicts 
in the solitariness of his soul.' 

The Yehudi speaks these words in a whisper in the midst of a great 
ecstasy of prayer such as he has experienced from his youth on, not 
without danger of death. Shortly thereafter he falls into a new and final 
state of ecstasy which brings him thirty-six hours later to his death. 
The moments before his death are given up entirely to the thought of 
the Shekinah, God's exiled Glory, for whom he has suff"ered and 
endeavoured during his life. 

Toward the dawn of the third day of beseeching penitence, 
Yerachmiel, who was watching beside him, heard him whispering 
the words of the prayers : *She is like the palm tree. She who is slain 
for Thy sake. And considered as a sheep on the butcher's block. 
Scattered among those who wound her. Clinging and cleaving to 
Thee. Laden with Thy yoke. The only one to declare Thy oneness. 
Dragged into exile. Stricken on the cheek. Given over unto stripes. 
Suffering Thy pain.' ^ 

At the very moment of his death, the Yehudi repeats the phrase, *The 
only one to declare Thy oneness.' These words are symbolic of the 
Yehudi's life and are the most fitting for its close; for of all of the 
characters in this novel, deeply religious though they are, it is only he 
who has declared God's oneness, only he who has refused to work for 
redemption with external means and who has refused to accept a 
division of the world between God and the devil or a redemption that 
is anything less than the redemption of all evil and the recognition of 
God as the only power in the universe. 

Buber's portrayal of the tragic conflict between the Yehudi and the 
Seer clearly shows that his concept of the redemption of evil does not 
mean any easy overcoming of the contradictions of life. Instead it 
includes those contradictions and the tragedy arising from them as an 
integral part of the redemption. We can gain a deeper understanding of 
the tragedy inherent in the relations between the Yehudi and the Seer 
from the fact that the Seer consistently identifies himself with Korah 
and the Yehudi, by implication, with Moses. According to the Seer, 
Korah's intention had been a good one, except for the fact that he had 
arrogantly emphasized his freedom from sin as against Moses and 
Aaron who had incurred sin. The Seer has shared Korah's pride, where- 
as the Yehudi has approached the meekness of Moses. More important 

1 For the Sake of Heaven, pp. 280, 284 f. 

The Nature and Redemption of Evil 
still, the Seer has resembled Korah in his demand for immediate re- 
demption. The Yehudi, in contrast, is like Moses in his recognition that 
the people are not holy but must become so. The Seer shortly before his 
death gains some insight into the true nature of his relationship with the 
Yehudi, and he expresses this in terms of the conflict between Moses 
and Korah. The soul of Moses and the soul of Korah return in every 
generation, he says. Korah will be redeemed, he adds, on the day that 
the soul of Korah will willingly subject itself to the soul of Moses. This 
realization comes too late, however, for the Yehudi is already dead. 
Although the Seer feels horror at the thought that he has been among 
the rebels against God, the contradiction is overcome, if at all, only at 
the moment of his death when his eyes open wide *as in immense 
astonishment.* ^ 

That the Yehudi actually carries on the task of Moses in a different 
situation is clear from Ruber's identification of the Yehudi with 
Deutero-Isaiah's ^suffering servant of the Lord.* ^ The servant, in 
Buber's interpretation, is neither Israel as a whole nor Christ, but a 
single figure embodied in different men at different times. The servant 
takes on himself the afflictions and iniquities of Israel and the nations, 
and through his sufferings he carries forward the covenant between God 
and Israel, the covenant to hallow the whole of community life, which 
Israel has not fulfilled. In so far as they have borne their sufferings 
willingly, writes Buber, the scattering of the Jews in the Diaspora can 
be understood as a continuation of the 'suffering servant.* ^ The Yehudi, 
then, stands in the succession of servants who voluntarily accept the 
sufferings of the exile, both the exile of the Jews from Palestine and the 
exile of the Shekinah from God. Understood in this way, the tragic 
conflict between the Yehudi and the Seer is a part of that redemptive 
process whereby this very world with all its contradictions is hallowed 
and the kingdom of man transformed into the kingdom of God. 

^ For the Sake of Heaven, p. 299, 308; Martin Buber, Moses (Oxford: East and 
West Library. 1946), p. 189 f. 

' For the Sake of Heaven, 2nd Edition, 'Preface'; Gog und Magog, 'Nachwort,' 
p. 407. 

3 The Prophetic Faith, op. cit., pp. 217-235. 





*T HAVE no inclination to systematizing,' Buber has said, *but I am 
I of course and by necessity a philosophizing man.*^ The real opposi- 
Ation for Buber is not between philosophy and religion, as it at first 
appears to be, but between that philosophy which sees the absolute in 
universals and hence removes reality into the systematic and the abstract 
and that which means the bond of the absolute with the particular and 
hence points man back to the reaUty of the lived concrete — to the 
immediacy of real meeting with the beings over against one.^ Human 
truth is participation in Being, writes Buber, not conformity between a 
proposition and that to which the proposition refers. It cannot claim 
universal validity yet it can be exemplified and symbolized in actual life. 

Any genuine human life-relationship to Divine Being — i.e. any 
such relationship eff'ected with a man's whole being — is a human 
truth, and man has no other truth. The ultimate truth is one, but it 
is given to man only as it enters, reflected as in a prism, into the 
true life-relationships of the human person.^ 

In existential thinking man vouches for his word with his life and stakes 
his life in his thought. *Only through personal responsibility can man 
find faith in the truth as independent of him and enter into a real rela- 
tion with it.' The man who thinks 'existentially' brings the uncondi- 
tioned nature of man into his relation with the world. He pledges 
himself to the truth and verifies it by being true himself.* 
Many who see the importance of Buber's thought for such realms as 

* From a letter from Professor Buber to me of August 11, 1951. 

2 Cf. Eclipse of God, op. cit., 'Religion and Philosophy,' pp. 44 ff., 49 f., 53-63. 

^ Martin Buber, 'Remarks on Goethe's Concept of Humanity,' Goethe and the 
Modern Age, ed. by Arnold Bergstraesser (Chicago: Henry Regnery Co., 1950), 
p. 232 f. 

* Between Man and Man, 'The Question to the Single One,' p. 81 f.; Images of 
Good and Evil, p. 55 f. 


Between Man and Man 
ethics and religion fail to see its radical significance for epistemology, 
or theory of knowledge, and many criticize it on the basis of other, 
incompatible epistemologies without knowing that they are doing so. 
The significance of Buber's theory of knowledge lies in the fact that it 
expresses and answers the felt need of many in this age to break through 
to a more humanly realistic account of the way in which we know. The 
independent springing up of other writers who have sought to answer 
this need in a similar way is as much a testimony to the significance of 
the general trend of Buber's thought as is the rapidly increasing number 
of thinkers who have been directly or indirectly influenced by him.^ 

1 Among those who have been particularly influenced by Buber in their episte- 
mology are Gaston Bachelard, John Baillie, Ludwig Binswanger, Emil Brunner, 
Friedrich Gogarten, Karl Heim, Hermann von Keyserling, and, in part, Nicholas 
Berdyaev and Dorothy Emmet. (Cf. John Baillie, Our Knowledge of God (New 
York: Scribners, 1939), pp. 161, 201-216; Gaston Bachelard, 'Preface' to Je et Tu, 
trans, from Ich und Du by Genevieve Bianquis, pp. 7-15; Ludwig Binswanger, 
Grundformen und Erkenntnis menschlichen Daseins (Zurich: Max Niehans Verlag, 
1942); Emil Brunner, Christianity and Civilisation, Giff'ord Lectures of 1947, First 
Part: Foundations (London: Nisbet & Co., 1948), chap, iii — The Problem of Truth'; 
Emil Brunner, Wahrheit als Begegnung; Friedrich Gogarten, Ich glaube an den 
dreieinigen Gott; Karl Heim, Glaube und Denken and God Transcendent; Graf 
Hermann Keyserling, Das Buch vom Ursprung, chaps. 'Das Zwischenreich' and 
'Instinkt und Intuition' ; Nicholas Berdyaev, Solitude and Society, trans, by George 
Reavey (London: Geoffrey Bles, 1938), 'Third Meditation, The Ego, Solitude and 
Society,' especially pp. 67-85 ; Dorothy M. Emmet, The Nature of Metaphysical 
Thinking (London: Macmillan & Co. Ltd., 1949), chaps, iii, ix, x, especially pp. 207- 
215. See also LesHe Allen Paul, The Meaning of Human Existence (Philaddphia. & New 
York: J. P. Lippincott Co., 1950), chaps, iv and v. Where facts of publication are 
not given above, see Bibliography section — 'Works other than Buber's on Dialogue 
and the I-Thou Relation.' 

Those who have arrived at a dialogical or I-Thou philosophy independently of 
Buber and without influencing him include Ferdinand Ebner, Eberhard Grisebach, 
Karl Jaspers, Gabriel Marcel, Eugene Rosenstock-Huessy, Franz Rosenzweig, and 
Max Scheler. The thought of Marcel, the French Catholic existentialist, bears 
remarkable resemblance to Buber's even in its terminology, but, according to 
Marcel's own statement to Buber when they met in Paris in 1950, he was not 
influenced by Buber's Ich und Du in writing his Journal Metaphysique. On the 
other hand, it is incomprehensible that I. M. Bochenski speaks of Marcel's use of 
the I-Thou philosophy as 'eigenartig' — peculiar to Marcel — and does not even 
mention Buber or Ferdinand Ebner, both of whom wrote in German several years 
before Marcel's earliest writing on 'je et toi.' (Cf. Innocentius M. Bochenski, 
Europdische Philosophie der Gegenwart (Bern: A. Francke Verlag, 1947), pp. 
178-185, in particular p. 184. Bochenski mentions Buber in the 2nd edition, but 
inadequately.) The merging of Marcel's and Buber's influence can be seen in 
Maurice Nedoncelle, La Reciprocite des Consciences (Paris: Aubier, Editions 
Montaignes, 1942). Aubier, Editions Montaigne also published Marcel's £tre et 
Avoir (1935) and Homo Viator (1944) and Je et Tu, the French translation of Buber's 
/ and Thou (1938). (Cf. Ferdinand Ebner, Das Wort und die geistigen Realitdten; 
Gabriel Marcel, Journal Metaphysique, 2nd Part; Marcel, Being and Having, 
pp. 104-111, 149-168, 233-239; Paul Ricoeur, Gabriel Marcel et Karl Jaspers, 
pp. 157-185, and especially Part II, chap, ii, 'Le "toi" et la "communication"'; 


Buber's Theory of Knowledge 

In its traditional form epistemology has always rested on the 
exclusive reality of the subject-object relationship. If one asks how the 
subject knows the object, one has in brief form the essence of theory 
of knowledge from Plato to Bergson; the differences between the many 
schools of philosophy can all be understood as variations on this theme. 
There are, first of all, differences in emphasis as to whether the subject 
or the object is the more real — as in rationalism and empiricism, 
idealism and materialism, personalism and logical positivism. There 
are differences, secondly, as to the nature of the subject, which is 
variously regarded as pure consciousness, will to life, will to power, 
the scientific observer, or the intuitive knower. There are differences, 
thirdly, as to the nature of the object — whether it is material reality, 
thought in the mind of God or man, pantheistic spiritual substance, 
absolute and eternal mystical Being, or simply something which we 
cannot know in itself but upon which we project our ordered thought- 
categories of space, time, and causation. There are differences, finally, 
as to the relation between subject and object: whether the object is 
known through dialectical or analytical reasoning, scientific method, 
phenomenological insight into essence, or some form of direct in- 

Buber's T-Thou' philosophy cuts underneath all of these distinctions 
to establish the T-Thou' relation as an entirely other way of knowing, 
yet one from which the I-It, or subject-object, relation is derived. Buber 
agrees with Kant that we cannot know any object in itself apart from 
its relation to a knowing subject. At the same time, through the present- 
ness and concreteness of the meeting with the 'other,' Buber avoids the 
pitfalls of the idealist who removes reality into the knowing subject, of 
Descartes who abstracts the subject into isolated consciousness, and of 

Eberhard Grisebach, Gegenwart. Eine kritische Ethik; Karl Jaspers, Philosophie II, 
Existenzerhellung; Jaspers, The Perennial Scope of Philosophy, trans, by Ralph 
Manheim (London: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1950); Eugen Rosenstock-Huessy, 
Angewandte Seelenkunde; Franz Rosenzweig, Der Stern der Erlosung.) For facts of 
publication not given see Bibliography, Section — 'Works other than Buber's on 
Dialogue and the I-Thou Relation.' 

For resumes, discussions, and attempted syntheses of the general trend in the 
direction of a dialogical theory of knowing, cf. Rosenstock-Huessy, Der At em des 
Geistes, Part I, 'Eine neue Wissenschaft,' esp. chap, i and BibUography; Rosen- 
zweig, 'Das neue Denken'; Baillie ,Our Knowledge of God, chap, v, # 17, 'The 
World of Others'; John Cullberg, Das Du und die Wirklichkeit (Uppsala: Uppsala 
Universitets, 1933, Vol. I), Part I, 'Historisch-Kritischer Teil,' chaps, i-iv; Hermann 
Levin-Goldschmidt, Philosophie als Dialogik, first half and Bibliography; Simon 
Maringer, Martin Bubers Metaphysik der Dialogik im Zusammenhang neuerer 
philosophischer und theologischer Stromungen (Koln: Buchdruckerei Steiner, 
Ulrichgasse, 1936); and Buber's 'Nachwort' to Die Schriften uber das Dialogische 
Prinzip, op. cit. This 'Nachwort' is Buber's only historical treatment of the move- 
ment and his place in it. His critique of Jaspers and Grisebach is of especial 


Between Man and Man 
Kant who asserts that we cannot know reality but only the categories 
of our thought. 

Although the I-Thou relation was independently discovered by others, 
some even before Buber, it is he who gave it its classical form, and it is 
he also who clarified the difference between the I-Thou and the I-It 
relations and worked out the implications of this distinction in a 
systematic and thorough-going fashion. The German theologian Karl 
Heim has spoken of this distinction between I-Thou and I-It as *one of 
the decisive discoveries of our time' — 'the Copernican revolution' of 
modern thought. When this new conception has reached fuller clarity, 
it must lead, writes Heim, *to a second new beginning of European 
thought pointing beyond the Cartesian contribution to modern 
philosophy.' ^ 

Ruber's I-Thou philosophy implies a different view of our knowledge 
of our selves, other selves, and the external world than any of the 
traditional subject-object theories. From Ruber's basic premise, 'As I 
become I, I say Thou,' it follows that our belief in the reality of the 
external world comes from our relation to other selves. This view is 
also held by Friedrich Heinrich Jacobi, Ludwig Feuerbach, Ferdinand 
Ebner, Gabriel Marcel, Max Scheler, Karl Lowith, and many others.^ 
This social conception of knowledge is of fundamental significance 
because it means a complete reversal of the former direction of thought 
which derived the relation between persons from the relation of the 
knowing subject to the external world. According to this earlier and 
still popular way of thinking, we know the external world of the senses 
directly and other selves only mediately und by analogy. Thus it is 
thought that the child has direct knowledge of material things through 
his senses and that through the smiles and gestures of other persons 
(originally associated with his desire to make use of them) he arrives at 
a knowledge of them as persons. These theories overlook the fact that 
the I is not an I, the self not a self, except through its meeting with the 
Thou. The feral child brought up by the wolves has a human body and 
originally a human brain, but it is not human: it does not have that 
distance from the world and other selves which is a necessary pre- 
supposition for its entering into relation with a Thou and becoming an 
I. The child who does come to know others as persons does so through 
his meeting with persons and through the innate potentiality of be- 
coming a person through meeting (this is what Buber means by speaking 

^ Heim, Glaube und Denken, 1st ed., p. 405 ff.; Heim, Ontologie und Theologie, 
Zeitschrift flir Theologie und Kirche, neue Folge XI (1930), p. 333. 

2 Ludwig Feuerbach, Grundsdtze der Philosophie der Zukunft (1843), # 64-66; 
Karl Lowith, Das Individuum in der Rolle der Mitmenschen, Ein Beitrag zur 
anthropologischen Grundlegung der ethischen Probleme (Munich: Drei Masken 
Verlag, 1928). On Jacobi see Buber's 'Nachwort' to Die Schriften iiber das dialogische 
Prinzip, p. 287 f. See p. 162, n. 1, above. 


Bubefs Theory of Knowledge 
of the *inborn' and *a priori' Thou). It is only because the meeting of 
the I and the Thou precedes the child's awareness of himself as I that 
he is able to infer the meaning of the actions of others.^ 

On the basis of his relationship with others, the child then comes to 
a knowledge of the external world, that is, through his social relation- 
ships he receives those categories that enable him to see the world as an 
ordered continuum of knowable and passive objects. This is the process 
which Buber has described as the movement of the child from the I- 
Thou to an I-It relation with people and things. The child establishes 
what is 'objective' reality for him through the constant comparison of 
his perceptions with those of others. This dialogue with others is often 
a purely technical one and hence itself belongs to the world of I-It, but 
the compelling conviction of reality which it produces is entirely 
dependent upon the prior (if forgotten) reality of the meeting with the 

In pointing to the prior reality of I-Thou knowing, Buber is not 
setting forth a dualism such as is implied by Nicholas Berdyaev's rejec- 
tion of the world of social objectification in favour of existential 
subjectivity or Ferdinand Ebner's relegation of mathematical thinking 
to the province of the pure isolated I {'Icheinsamkeit').^ To Buber I- 
Thou and I-It alternate with each other in integral relation. It is impor- 
tant, on the other hand, not to lose sight of the fact that though the 
world of It is a social world which is derived from the world of Thou, it 
often sets itself up as the final reality. Its sociality, as a result, becomes 
largely 'technical dialogue' with the social understood either as an 
organic, objective whole or as the mere communication and interaction 
between human beings who may in fact relate to each other largely as 
Its. Here is where Buber' s terminology shows itself as clearer than 
Heidegger's 'Dasein ist Mitsein' (existence is togetherness) and Marcel's 
understanding of knowledge as the third-personal object of the dia- 
logue between a first and a second person. Both of these thinkers tend 
to confuse the social nature of I-Thou with the social nature of I-It, the 
reality of true dialogue with the indirect togetherness of ordinary social 

The I-Thou relation is a direct knowing which gives one neither 

1 I and Thou, p. 27; Baillie, op. cit., pp. 207-218; Herbert H. Farmer, The World 
and God (London: Nisbet & Co., 1935), pp. 13-19; Heim, Glaube und Denken, 
pp. 252-269, God Transcendent, pp. 91-101; Paul, The Meaning of Human Existence, 
pp. 130-140. 

^ Cf . Berdyaev, Solitude and Society and Slavery and Freedom ; Ebner, Das Wort und 
die geistigenRealitdten, p. 1 6 and chap, xii— 'Das mathematische Denken und das Ich.' 

3 Marcel, Journal Metaphysique, pp. 136-144; Lowith, op. cit.. Sec. 11— 'Struktur- 
analyse des Miteinanderseins' ; Cullberg, Das Du und die Wirklichkeit, chaps, iv, 
vii-x; Heim, Glaube und Denken, pp. 342-349. The attempts of Lowith, Heim, 
Cullberg and others to combine Heidegger's ontology with the I-Thou relation are 


Between Man and Man 

knowledge about the Thou over against one nor about oneself as an 
objective entity apart from this relationship. It is *the genuinely reci- 
procal meeting in the fullness of life between one active existence and 
another.' ^ Although this dialogical knowing is direct, it is not entirely 
unmediated. The directness of the relationship is established not only 
through the mediation of the senses, e.g. the concrete meeting of real 
living persons, but also through the mediation of the *word,' i.e. the 
mediation of those technical means and those fields of symbolic com- 
munication, such as language, music, art, and ritual, which enable men 
ever again to enter into relation with that which is over against them. 
The *word' may be identified with subject-object, or I-It, knowledge 
while it remains indirect and symbolic, but it is itself the channel and 
expression of I-Thou knowing when it is taken up into real dialogue. 

Subject-object, or I-It, knowledge is ultimately nothing other than 
the socially objectivized and elaborated product of the real meeting 
which takes place between man and his Thou in the realms of nature, 
social relations, and art. As such, it provides those ordered categories 
of thought which are, together with dialogue, primal necessities of 
human existence. But as such also, it may be, like the indirect and 
objective *word,' the symbol of true dialogue. It is only when the 
symbolical character of subject-object knowledge is forgotten or remains 
undiscovered (as is often the case) that this *knowledge' ceases to point 
back toward the reaUty of direct dialogical knowing and becomes 
instead an obstruction to it. When I-It blocks the return to I-Thou, it 
poses as reality itself: it asserts that reality is ultimately of the nature 
of abstract reason or objective category and that it can be understood 
as something external, clearly defined, and entirely *objective.' 

When this has taken place, the true nature of knowledge as com- 
munication—as the *word' which results from the relation of two 
separate existing beings— is forgotten. 'Words' are taken to be entities 
independent of the dialogue between man and man and the meeting 
between man and nature, and they are either understood as expressions 
of universal ideas existing in themselves or as nominative designations 
for entirely objective empirical reaUty. The latter way of seeing words 
attempts to separate the object from the knowing subject, to reduce 
words to sheer denotation, and to relegate all 'connotations' and all 
that is not 'empirically verifiable' to subjective emotion or 'poetic 
truth.' The former retains the true symbolic character of the 'word' as 

essentially vitiated by the basic difference between this ontology and that underlying 
a thoroughgoing dialogical philosophy. This has become increasingly clear as Buber 
has developed and made explicit his own ontology in 'What Is Man?' (Between 
Man and Man) and 'Distance and Relation.' See Buber's critique of Heidegger in 
'What Is Man?' {Between Man and Man, pp. 163-181) and 'Religion and Modem 
Thinking' (Eclipse of God, pp. 94-104). 
^ Eclipse of God, 'Religion and Philosophy,' p. 46. 


Buber*s Theory of Knowledge 
something more than a conventional sign and as something which does 
refer to a true order of being, but it misunderstands the nature of the 
symbol as giving indirect knowledge of an object rather than as com- 
municating the relation between one existing being and another. Meta- 
physical analogies, as Dorothy Emmet has shown, are analogies 
between relationships rather than between one object which is famiUar 
and known as it is in itself and one which is either abstract or unknown.^ 
A symbol is not a concrete medium for the knowledge of some universal, 
if not directly knowable reality — though this is the way in which most 
writers on symbolism from Plato and Plotinus to Urban, Coomara- 
swamy, and Jung have treated it.^ It is instead a mythical or conceptual 
representation of a concrete reality. It is first of all the product of the 
real meeting in the actual present of two separate beings; only when it 
becomes abstract and universalized is that meeting forgotten. 

The difference between Buber's understanding of the symbol and that 
of the modern logical positivist, who also rejects Platonic universals, can 
be seen most clearly in Buber's use of the term *signs.' Buber, as we have 
seen, portrays the total moral action in terms of ^becoming aware' of 
the *signs' and responding to them. The *signs' are just everything which 
we meet, but seen as something really addressing us, rather than as 
objective phenomena. A *sign' is ordinarily defined as a conventional 
or arbitrary symbol whereby everybody may derive the same meaning 
from a thing, and this is the meaning which the logical positivist gives 
to *symbol.' This would apply equally to red lights, algebraic symbols, 
and the prediction of future events on the basis of tea leaves or the stars. 
What Buber means by *sign' in contrast, is something which does not 
speak to everybody but just to the one who sees that it *says' something 
to him. Moreover, the same thing may *say' different things to different 
people, and to a man who rests content to be an 'observer' it will say 
nothing at all. This *saying' is thus nothing other than the 'I-Thou' 
relation whether it be the full, reciprocal I-Thou relation between men 
or the less complete and non-reciprocal relation with nature or in 
artistic creation and appreciation. Our inherited mechanisms of defence 
protect us from seeing the signs as really addressing us. 'Becoming 
aware' is the openness which puts aside this perfected shell in favour of 

1 Emmet, The Nature of Metaphysical Thinking, chaps, v, ix. On 'the Word' see 
Emmet, pp. 224-227; Ebner, op. cit., chaps, ii-viii, x-xiv; Rosenstock-Huessy, 
Angewandte Seelenkunde and Das Atem der Geistes; Romano Guardini, Welt und 
Person (Wiirzburg; Wekbund-Verlag, 1950), pp. 107-111; Lowith, op. cit., 2. 
Abschnitt, 'Miteinandersein als Miteinander Sprechen,' # 24-32. 

* Cf. Wilbur Marshal Urban, Language and Reality (New York: Macmillan Co., 
1939); Ananda K. Coomaraswamy, Hinduism and Buddhism; Carl G. Jung, Modern 
Man in Search of a Soul (1932), Psychology and Religion (1938), The Integration of the 
Personality (1940), and The Secret of the Golden Flower (with Richard Wilhelm) 


Between Man and Man 

true presentness, that is, of being willing to see each new event as some- 
thing which is, despite all resemblance to what has gone before, unique 
and unexpected.^ 

One must understand the full significance of this presentness if one 
is to understand the symbolic function and the dependent and mediate 
reality of the I-It relation.^ What takes place in the present is ordered 
through the abstracting function of I-It into the world of categories — 
of space and time, cause and effect. We usually think of these categories 
as reality itself, but they are actually merely the symbolic representation 
of what has become. Even our predictions of the future actually belong 
to the world of the past, for they are generalizations based on the 
assumptions of unity, continuity, cause and effect, and the resemblance 
of the future to the past. Nor does the partial success of these predic- 
tions show that we have real knowledge of the future, for we do not 
know this 'future' until it is already past, that is, until it has been 
registered in the categories of our knowledge- world. 

It is the presentness of the I-Thou relation which shows most clearly 
the logical impossibility of criticizing I-Thou knowing on the basis of 
any system of I-It. Although psychology, for example, may show that 
many human relations which are thought genuine are actually neurotic 
projections from the past and hence I-It, it cannot question the funda- 
mental reality of the I-Thou relation nor establish any external, 'objec- 
tively' valid criteria as to which relations are I-Thou and which I-It. 
The reason it cannot do this is that it is itself an ordered system of 
knowledge. As such, it observes its phenomena after they have already 
taken their place in the categories of human knowing. Also, in so far 
as it is scientific, it excludes the really direct and present knowing of 
I-Thou. This knowing, when it reaches its full development in 'seeing 
the other,' or making the other present (which surely happens again and 
again in really effective psychotherapy), is itself the ultimate criterion 
for the reality of the I-Thou relation. 

* Between Man and Man, 'Dialogue,' pp. 10-13, 'The Education of Character,' 
p. 113 f. 

2 Karl Heim has made Buber's distinction between the presentness of the I-Thou 
relation and the pastness of I-It the basis for his whole philosophy of dimensions 
and hence in turn of his theology. He has shown the way in which the present 
flows into the past and from this the way in which what has become past may 
again become present reality. He has misunderstood the full significance of Buber's 
distinction, however, when he identifies the present with the I and the past with 
the It — and an important part of his epistemology is based on this identification. 
(Glaube und Denken, 1st ed., chap, iii, pp. 200-278; God Transcendent, chaps, iv-v.) 
Real presentness cannot be identified with the I, for the I does not exist in itself, 
but only in relation to a Thou or an It. Presentness exists, moreover, not in the I 
but between the I and the Thou. I-It, on the other hand, is always past, always 
'akeady become,' and this means that the I of the I-It relation is as much a part 
of the past as the 'object' which it knows. 


Buber's Theory of Knowledge 

The presentness of the I-Thou relation is also fatal to the attempt of 
logical positivism to relegate ethics, religion, and poetry to subjective 
emotion without real knowledge value. Seen in the light of Buber's 
dialogical philosophy, this is nothing other than the attempt of subject- 
object, or I-It, knowledge to dismiss the ontological reality of the 
I-Thou knowing from which it derives its own existence. This means that 
it judges the present entirely by the past as if there were no present 
reality until that reality had become past and therefore capable of being 
dealt with in our thought categories. It also means that it abstracts the 
knowing subject from his existence as a person in relation to other 
persons and then attempts to establish an 'objective' impersonal know- 
ledge abstracted from even that knowing subject. 

Still another illustration of the importance of the distinction between 
the presentness of true becoming and the pastness of having become is 
the tendency of many thinkers to identify the inheritance of tradition 
with the forms into which tradition has cast itself.^ On the basis of a 
misleading biological analogy, they think of society, the family, the 
church, or the law as a living organism and of the individuals of the 
past, present, and future as cells in this organism. This way of thinking 
is a distortion of the true way in which tradition is actually inherited, 
namely through each individual's making that part of the tradition his 
own which comes alive for him as Thou. What is more, the fact that it 
is a distortion is hidden by the false appearance of presentness and 
dynamism which the biological analogy lends. This analogy, like all 
social application of evolutionism, is actually entirely a matter of the 
past and of static categories of cause and effect — in other words of the 
I-It, or subject-object, way of knowing. 

The contrast between the presentness of I-Thou and the pastness of 
I-It also provides us with a key to the most misunderstood and most 
often criticized part of Buber's I-Thou philosophy — his assertion of 
the reality of the I-Thou relation with nature. ^ What Buber's critics on 
this point overlook is that the reason that objects are It to us and not 
Thou is that they have already been enregistered in the subject-object 
world of the past. We think that we know the 'real' objects although 
usually we know them only indirectly and conceptually through the 

1 See, for example, T. S. Eliot, Notes Towards the Definition of Culture (New 
York: Harcourt Brace, 1951). 

2 John CuUberg has cited this part of Buber's thought as proof that he still 
posits a mystical or aesthetic unity which in fact negates the true 'otherness' of the 
Thou. Hermann Levin-Goldschmidt has used it to prove that although Buber talks 
of dialogue, he has not in fact left the mystical monologue which projects a Thou 
on to things which obviously cannot be a Thou. (Cullberg, op. cit., pp. 39-46, 
162-167; Hermann Levin-Goldschmidt, Hermann Cohen und Martin Buber ^ Ein 
Jahrhundert Ringen urn judische Wirklichkeit, Geneva: Editions Migdal, 1946, 
pp. 72-76.) 


Between Man and Man 

categories of I-It. Consequently, we find it diflBicult to understand 
Buber's meaning when he says in 'Dialogue' that all things *say' some- 
thing to us. Similarly, because we tend to associate *person' with the 
human body-mind individual abstracted from his relation to the Thou, 
we forget that he is only a *person' when he is actually or potentially in 
such a relation and that the term 'personal' applies as much to the 
relationship itself as to the members of the relation. As a result, we 
cannot help suspecting Buber of 'animism' or mystical 'projection' 
when he speaks of an I-Thou relation with non-human existing beings : 
we can only imagine such a relation as possible with things that have 
minds and bodies similar to ours and in addition possess the conscious- 
ness of being an I. 

In the presentness of meeting, however, are included all those things 
which we see in their uniqueness and for their own selves, and not as 
already filtered through our mental categories for purposes of know- 
ledge or use. In this presentness it is no longer true (as it obviously is in 
the 'having become' world of active subject and passive object) that the 
existing beings over against us cannot in some sense move to meet us 
as we them. Because these existing beings are real, we can feel the impact 
of their active reality even though we cannot know them as they are in 
themselves or describe that impact apart from our relation to it. This 
'impact' is not that which can be objectively observed by any subject, 
for in objective observation the activity of the object is actually thought 
of as part of a causal order in which nothing is really active of itself. 
It is rather the 'impact' of the relation in the present moment between 
the human I and that non-human existing being which has become real 
for him as 'Thou'. This impact makes manifest the only true uniqueness, 
for that inexhaustible difference between objects which we sometimes 
loosely call 'uniqueness' is really nothing other than a product of our 
comparison of one object with another and is nothing that exists in the 
object in itself. 

Though natural things may 'say' something to us and in that sense 
have 'personal' relations with us, they do not have the continuity, the 
independence, or the Hving consciousness and consciousness of self 
which make up the person. A tree can 'say' something to me and become 
my Thou, but I cannot be a Thou for it. This same impossibility of 
reciprocity is found in the work of literature and art which becomes 
Thou for us, and this suggests by analogy that as the poem is the 'word' 
of the poet, so the tree may be the 'word' of Being over against us. 
Being which is more than human yet not less than personal.^ This does 
not mean, however, any monistic or mystical presupposition of unity 
between subject and object. Quite to the contrary, this view alone 
allows to non-human existing beings their true 'otherness' as something 
^ Cf. Between Man and Man, 'Dialogue,* p. 14 f. 

Bubefs Theory of Knowledge 

more than the passive objects of our thought categories and the passive 
tools of our will to use. 

Artistic creation and appreciation, like the I-Thou relation with 
nature, are modified forms of dialogue which by their very nature can- 
not be reciprocal. The artist, or 'onlooker' as Buber calls him, is not 
intent on analysing and noting traits, as is the observer, but instead sees 
the object freely 'and undisturbed awaits what will be presented to him.' 
He perceives an existence instead of a sum of traits, and he makes a 
genuine response to this existence. This response manifests itself as 
creation of form rather than as an answering with one's personal 
existence of that which addresses one. Yet it retains the betweenness, 
the presentness, and the uniqueness which characterize the true I-Thou 
relation as distinct from I-It.^ 

In his latest writing Buber has laid greater emphasis than ever before 
on the difference between our knowledge of other persons and our 
knowledge of things. We have in common with every thing the abiUty 
to become an object of observation, but it is the privilege of man, 
through the hidden action of his being, to be able to impose an in- 
surmountable limit to his objectification. Only as a partner can man be 
perceived as an existing wholeness. To become aware of a thing or being 
means, in general, to experience it, in all concreteness, as a whole, yet 
without abridging abstractions. But man is categorically different from 
all things and from all non-human beings. Though he is perceivable as a 
being among beings and even as a thing among things, he cannot really 
be grasped except from the standpoint of the gift of spirit which is his 
alone among all things and beings. This spirit cannot be understood in 
isolation, however, but only as decisively joined in the personal existence 
of this living being — the person-defining spirit. To become aware of a 
man, therefore, means in particular to perceive his wholeness as person 
defined by spirit: to perceive the dynamic centre which stamps on all 
his utterances, actions, and attitudes the tangible sign of oneness. Such 
an awareness is impossible if and so long as the other is for me the 
detached object of my contemplation or observation, for he will not 
thus yield his wholeness and its centre. It is only possible when I step 
into elemental relationship with the other, when he becomes present for 
me. For this reason, Buber describes awareness in this sense Sispersonale 
Vergegenwdrtigung, making present the person of the other.^ 


A recognition of the implications of the I-Thou relation for episte- 
mology would not mean a rejection of those essential and eminently 

'Ibid., pp. 8ff., 25. 

-'Elements of the Interhuman,' op. cit., p. 109 f. 


Between Man and Man 

useful objective techniques which the social sciences have developed. 
These sciences cannot dispense with objectification since science as such 
deals only with objects. However, they can recognize that the dis- 
coveries of science are themselves products of true scientific 'intuition,' 
or rather 'confrontation.' Objectification necessarily follows this dis- 
covery, but it cannot take its place.^ What is necessary, therefore, is that 
we overcome the tendency to regard the subject-object relation as itself 
the primary reality. When this false objectification is done away with, 
the human studies will be in a position to integrate the I-Thou and the 
subject-object types of knowing. This implies the recognition that 
subject-object knowledge fulfils its true function only in so far as it 
retains its symbolic quality of pointing back to the dialogical knowing 
from which it derives. The way toward this integration has been indi- 
cated by Buber himself in his treatment of philosophical anthropology, 
psychology, education, ethics, social philosophy, myth, and history. 

Walter Blumenfeld, in a book based on Ruber's 'What Is Man?', 
suggests that in order to be accepted as valid Ruber's anthropology 
would have to be grounded on empirical psychology and an objective 
and scientific hierarchy of values, in other words, on pure subject-object 
epistemology.2 In so doing he fails to see the integral relation between 
Ruber's anthropology and his I-Thou epistemology. Although philo- 
sophical anthropology cannot replace the specific disciplines dealing 
with the study of man, neither can those disciplines be entirely separated 
from it. If the basic purpose of the study of man is defined by the image 
of man as the creature who becomes what only he can become through 
confronting reality with his whole being, then the specific branches of 
that study must also include an understanding of man in this way, 
and this means not only as an object, but also, to begin with, as a 

It may be objected that Ruber's concern for man's wholeness pre- 
judges the conclusions to be reached or that it is not a 'value-free' 
method. These objections are likely to be reinforced in the minds of 
those who make them by the qualifications which Ruber sets for the 
philosophical anthropologist: that he must be an individual to whom 
man's existence as man has become questionable, that he must have 
experienced the tension of solitude, and that he must discover the 
essence of man not as a scientific observer, removed in so far as possible 
from the object that he observes, but as a participant who only after- 

^ From a letter from Professor Buber to the writer, December 4, 1952. 

2 Walter Blumenfeld, La Antropologia Filosdfica de Martin Buber y la Fllosofia 
Antropologicay Un Ensayo, Vol. VI of Colecci6n Plena Luz, Pleno Ser (Lima: 
Sociedad Peruana de Filosofia, Universidad Nacional Mayor de San Marcos, 
PubUcaciones del Cuarto Centenario, 1951), pp. 18-25, 97-102, 108-113, 120-126, 
138, 141-150. 


Buber's Theory of Knowledge 

wards gains the distance from his subject matter which will enable him 
to formulate the insights he has attained.^ 

The tremendous prestige of the scientific method has led many to 
forget that science investigates man not as a whole but in selective 
aspects and as part of the natural world. Scientific method is man's 
most highly perfected development of the I-It, or subject-object, way 
of knowing. Its methods of abstracting from the concrete actuality and 
of largely ignoring the inevitable difierence between observers reduce 
the I in so far as possible to the abstract knowing subject and the It in 
so far as possible to the passive and abstract object of thought. Just for 
these reasons scientific method is not quaUfied to find the wholeness 
of man. It can compare men with each other and man with animals, but 
from such comparison and contrast there can only emerge an expanding 
and contracting scale of similarities and differences. This scale, con- 
sequently, can be of aid in categorizing men and animals as difiering 
objects in a world of objects but not in discovering the uniqueness of 
man as man. 

The objections to Ruber's method of knowing what man is stem for 
the most part from the belief that there is no other way of knowing than 
the subject-object, or I-It, and hence that any knowing into which the 
whole man enters must be a poor combination of 'objectivity' and 
'subjectivity' in which subjective emotion corrupts the otherwise objec- 
tive power of reason. It is, in fact, only the knowing of the I-Thou 
relation which makes possible the conception of the wholeness of man. 
Only I-Thou sees this wholeness as the whole person in unreserved 
relation with what is over against him rather than as a sum of parts, 
some of which are labelled objective and hence oriented around the thing 
known and some subjective and hence oriented around the knower. A 
great novelist and great psychological observer such as Proust still does 
not give us the insight into the essence of man that we find in the novels 
of Dostoievsky and the poetry of Blake. Proust's world was preponder- 
antly made up of subjective emotions and objective observations, 
whereas Dostoievsky and Blake first participated fully in what they 
experienced and only later attained the distance which enabled them to 
enter into an artistic relationship with it and give it symbolic and 
artistic expression. 

The observation of the social sphere as a whole, the determination of 
the categories which rule within it, the knowledge of its relations to 
other spheres of life, and the understanding of the meaning of social 
existence and happening are and remain philosophical tasks, writes 
Buber. Philosophy does not exist, however, without the readiness of the 
philosophizing man to make decisions, on the basis of known truth, as 
to whether a thought is right or wrong, an action good or bad. Thus 
Between Man and Man, 'What Is Man?', pp. 124 f., 132 f., 180 f., 199 f. 


Between Man and Man 

philosophical treatment of social conditions and events includes valua- 
tion — criticism and demand. Living social thinking only comes to a 
person when he really lives with men, when he does not remain a 
stranger to its group structures or entirely outside its mass movements. 
Without genuine social binding there is no genuine social experience, 
and without genuine social experience there is no genuine social 

Knowledge, for all this, remains an ascetic act. The knower, to be 
sure, must enter with his whole being into what he knows; he must 
bring unabridged into the act of knowing the experience which his 
binding with the situation presents him. But he must make himself as 
free from the influence of this binding as he is able through the strongest 
concentration of spiritual power. If this has taken place, he need not 
concern himself with the extent to which his knowledge is influenced 
against his wiU by his membership in a group. On the basis of knowledge 
won in this way, the social thinker values and decides, censures and 
demands, without violating the laws of his science.^ 

The participation of the knower in the situation which he knows 
must not be confused with Bergson's concept of an absolute intuition 
which gives man a sympathetic knowledge of the world without any 
separation from it. Bergson no longer abstracts the subjective conscious- 
ness from the full human person nor static concepts from the dynamic 
stream of time, as did the earlier metaphysicians whom he criticizes, but 
he fails to see the real diff'erence or distance between the I and the Thou. 
Metaphysical knowledge, according to him, is obtained through an 
inward turning: the thinker by discerning the process of duration within 
himself is able to intuit the absolute reality in other things.^ 

Intuition does not set aside the duality between the beholder and that 
which is beheld, writes Buber. The beholder places himself in the posi- 
tion of the beheld and experiences his especial life, his feelings and 
drives, from within. That he can do so is explicable through a deep 
community between the two, but the fact of duality is not thereby 
weakened. On the contrary, it is just this division of the original com- 
munity that lays the foundation for the act of intuition. The intuition 
which enables us to place ourselves within another person may lessen 
the diff*erence, but it cannot overcome the tension between our image 
of the person and the factual existing person. Just as in conversation 
the tension between the meaning which the word I use has for me and 
that which it has for my partner can prove itself fruitful and lead to a 
deeper personal understanding, so out of the tension between the image 

' Martin Buber, Pointing the Way, The Demand of the Spirit and Historical 
Reahty/ p. 181. 

-Henri Bergson, An Introduction to Metaphysics, trans, by T. E. Hulme 
(New York: The Liberal Arts Press, 1949). 


Buber's Theory of Knowledge 
of a person and the existing person a genuine understanding can arise. 
The fruitful meeting between two men issues in a breakthrough from 
image to being. The Thou whom I thus meet is no longer a sum of 
conceptions, nor object of knowledge, but a substance experienced in 
giving and receiving. 

Intellect operates where we know in order to act with some purpose ; 
instinct operates where we act purposefully without needing know- 
ledge; intuition where our whole being becomes one in the act of 
knowing. Intellect holds us apart from the world which it helps us use ; 
instinct joins us with the world but not as persons; intuition binds us 
as persons to the world which is over against us without being able to 
make, us one with it. The vision which intuition gives us is, like all our 
perceptions, a limited one, yet it affords us an intimate glimpse into 
hidden depths.^ 

^Pointing the Way, 'Bergson's Concept of Intuition' (1943). pp. 81-86. After 
this book was in proof, I received from Professor Buber 'Der Mensch und sein 
Gebild,' a new lecture on the anthropology of art. The fourth section represents 
so significant a development in Buber's epistemology that I feel it should be 
paraphrased here: Our relation to nature is founded on numberless connections 
between movements to something and perceptions of something. Even the im- 
ages of fantasy, dreams, delirium, draw their material from this foundation; our 
speech and our thinking are rooted in it and cannot withdraw from it without 
losing their tie with life; even mathematics must concretize itself ever again in 
the relationship with it. That to which we move and which we perceive is 
always sensible. Even when I myself am the object of my perceiving movement 
and moving perception, I must to some extent make use of my corporeality in 
my perception. The same holds for every other I in genuine communication 
with me: as my partner, my Thou, he can be comprehended by me in his full 
independence without his sensible existence being curtailed. It is not so, how- 
ever, with all that is treated as an object to which I can ascribe no I. I can 
present all this in its independence only by freeing it from its sensible represen- 
tation. What remains, is divested of all the properties which it possessed in my 
meeting with it. It exists, but not as something that may be represented. We 
know of it only that it is and that it meets us. Yet in all the sense world there is 
not one trait that does not stem from this meeting. The sense world itself arises 
out of the intercourse of being with being. ('Der Mensch und sein Gebild,' 
which will be a part of Buber's forthcoming book on philosophical anthropol- 
ogy, was published by Verlag Lambert Schneider, Heidelberg, 1955.) 



EDUCATION, to Buber, means a conscious and willed *selection by 
man of the effective world.' The teacher makes himself the living 
selection of the world, which comes in his person to meet, draw 
out, and form the pupil. In this meeting the teacher puts aside the will 
to dominate and enjoy the pupil, for this will more than anything else 
threatens to stifle the growth of his blessings. *It must be one or the 
other,' writes Buber: 'Either he takes on himself the tragedy of the 
person, and offers an unblemished daily sacrifice, or the fire enters his 
work and consumes it.' The greatness of the educator, in Buber's 
opinion, lies in the fact that his situation is unerotic. He cannot choose 
who will be before him, but finds him there already. 

He sees them crouching at the desks, indiscriminately flung 
together, the misshapen and the well-proportioned, animal faces, 
empty faces, and noble faces in indiscriminate confusion, like the 
presence of the created universe ; the glance of the educator accepts 
and receives them all.^ 

The teacher is able to educate the pupils that he finds before him 
only if he is able to build real mutuality between himself and them. 
This mutuality can only come into existence if the child trusts the teacher 
and knows that he is really there for him. The teacher does not have to 
be continually concerned with the child, but he must have gathered him 
into his life in such a way 'that steady potential presence of the one to 
the other is established and endures.' 'Trust, trust in the world, because 
this human being exists — that is the most inward achievement of the 
relation in education.' But this means that the teacher must be really 
there facing the child, not merely there in spirit. 'In order to be and to 
remain truly present to the child he must have gathered the child's 
presence into his own store as one of the bearers of his communion with 
the world, one of the focuses of his responsibilities for the world.' ^ 

* Between Man and Man, 'Education,' pp. 89 f., 83-96, quotation from p. 94. 
2 Ibid., p. 98. 



What is most essential in the teacher's meeting with the pupil is that 
he experience the pupil from the other side. If this experiencing is quite 
real and concrete, it removes ^he danger that the teacher's will to 
educate will degenerate into arbitrariness. This *inclusiveness' is of the 
essence of the dialogical relation, for the teacher sees the position of 
the other in his concrete actuality yet does not lose sight of his own. 
Unlike friendship, however, this inclusiveness must be largely one-sided : 
the pupil cannot equally well see the teacher's point of view without the 
teaching relationship being destroyed. Inclusiveness must return again 
and again in the teaching situation, for it not only regulates but consti- 
tutes it. Through discovering the *otherness' of the pupil the teacher 
discovers his own real limits, but also through this discovery he recog- 
nizes the forces of the world which the child needs to grow and he 
draws those forces into himself. Thus, through his concern with the 
child, the teacher educates himself.^ 

In his essays on education Buber points to a genuine third alternative 
to the either-or's of conflicting modem educational philosophies. The 
two attitudes of the *old' and the *new' educators which Buber cited in 
1926 are still dominant in educational theory and practice today. On 
the one hand, there are those who emphasize the importance of 
'objective' education to be obtained through the teaching of Great 
Books, classical tradition, or technical knowledge. On the other, there 
are those who emphasize the subjective side of knowledge and look on 
education as the development of creative powers or as the ingestion of 
the environment in accordance with subjective need or interest. Like 
idealism and materialism, these two types of educational theory re- 
present partial aspects of the whole. Looking at education in terms of 
the exclusive dominance of the subject-object relationship, they either 
picture it as the passive reception of tradition poured in from above — 
in Buber' s terms, the 'funnel' — or as drawing forth the powers of the 
self — the 'pump.' ^ Only the philosophy of dialogue makes possible an 
adequate picture of what does in fact take place: the pupil grows 
through his encounter with the person of the teacher and the Thou of 
the writer. In this encounter the reality which the teacher and writer 
present to him comes alive for him : it is transformed from the potential, 
the abstract, and the unrelated to the actual, concrete, and present 
immediacy of a personal and even, in a sense, a reciprocal relationship. 
This means that no real learning takes place unless the pupil partici- 
pates, but it also means that the pupil must encounter something really 
'other' than himself before he can learn. 

The old, authoritarian theory of education does not understand the 
need for freedom and spontaneity. But the new, freedom-centred 
educational theory misunderstands the meaning of freedom, which is 
1 lbid.y pp. 96-101. » Ibid., p. 89. 


Between Man and Man 

indispensable but not in itself sufficient for true education. The opposite 
of compulsion is not freedom but communion, says Buber, and thi^ 
communion comes about through the child's first being free to venture 
on his own and then encountering the real values of the teacher. The 
teacher presents these values in the form of a lifted finger or subtle hint 
rather than as an imposition of the 'right,' and the pupil learns from 
this encounter because he has first experimented himself. The doing of 
the teacher proceeds, moreover, out of a concentration which has the 
appearance of rest. The teacher who interferes divides the soul into an 
obedient and a rebellious part, but the teacher who has integrity inte- 
grates the pupil through his actions and attitudes. The teacher must be 
'wholly alive and able to communicate himself directly to his fellow 
beings,' but he must do this, in so far as possible, with no thought of 
affecting them. He is most effective when he 'is simply there' without 
any arbitrariness or conscious striving for effectiveness, for then what 
he is in himself is communicated to his pupils.^ Intellectual instruction 
is by no means unimportant, but it is only really important when it 
arises as an expression of a real human existence. As Marjorie Reeves 
has shown in her application of Buber's I-Thou philosophy to educa- 
tion, the whole concept of the 'objectivity' of education is called in 
question by the fact that our knowledge of things is for the most part 
mediated through the minds of others and by the fact that real growth 
takes place 'through the impact of person on person.'^ 

Two well-known English thinkers, one a leading educator, and the 
other a prominent poet and writer, each make Buber's essay on 'Educa- 
tion' the centre of a book on that subject. One of these writers obviously 
proceeds from the side of the older education with its emphasis on 
absolute values, the other from the side of the newer education with its 
emphasis on freedom and relativity of values ; yet they are in virtually 
complete agreement in their acceptance of Buber's thought about 

Sir Fred Clarke states in Freedom in the Educative Society that while 
the popular educational theory in England is that of 'development,' the 
popular practice is that of an imposed code. Following Buber, he re- 
defines education as the creative conquest of freedom through tension 
and responsibility. Freedom is the goal and discipline is the strategy. 
This does not mean imposing from above or converting persons into 
instruments but the recognition that education is releasing of instinct 
plus encounter. Educational discipline, Clarke says, is just that selection 
of the effective world by the teacher which Buber has outlined. The 

1 Between Man and Man, 'Education,' pp. 83-90, 'The Education of Character,' 
p. 105. 

2 Marjorie Reeves, Growing up in a Modern Society (London: University of 
London Press, 1946), pp. 9-12; cf. pp. 34-38. 


teacher concentrates and presents in himself a construct of the world, 
and this must be understood as a practical artistic activity, not as a 
technique. The teacher is disinterested, yet he is very much a self, for he 
is a living embodiment of a world rather than an abstract social code or 
system of morality.^ 

Buber's doctrine offers to contribute to English thought on 
education a balancing force of which it stands in grave need. . . . 
For he places educational authority on a ground which is not 
merely consistent with freedom, but is also the necessary condition 
for the achievement of such freedom as a wise education can 
guarantee. Moreover, he appears to find the secret in a peculiar and 
paradoxical blend of self-suppression and self-assertion in the 
teacher. 2 

Clarke stresses that Buber's secret lies not in any science of teaching 
or philosophy of education but in the supreme artistry that teaching 
demands in practice. He is joined in this emphasis by Sir Herbert Read, 
who reports in Education Through Art that his visits to the art classes 
in a great many schools have shown that good results depend on right 
atmosphere and that right atmosphere is the creation of the teacher. 
The creation of this atmosphere, according to Read, depends above all 
upon the gift of 'enveloping' the pupil which Buber has defined. Here 
Read is referring not only to the teacher's selective embodiment of the 
world but also to his experiencing the teaching process from the pupil's 
as well as from his own side. He agrees with Buber and Clarke that it 
is not the free exercise of instinct that matters but the opposition that 
it encounters, and he states further that the whole structure of education 
envisaged in his book depends on a conception of the teacher similar to 
that of Buber. According to Read, Buber's conception completes the 
psychological analyses of the child made by such psychologists as 
Trigant Burrows, Ian Suttie, and Jean Piaget. It avoids the taboo on 
tenderness on the one hand and undue pampering on the other. It can 
thus play a part in the 'psychic weaning' of the child, for it gives us a 
new, more constructive conception of tenderness.^ 

Read loses sight of Buber's concept of dialogue, however, when he 
suggests that Buber's teaching shows how to replace the inter-individual 
tensions of the classroom by *an organic mode of adaptation to the 
social organism as a whole' and when he reinterprets the teacher's 
concentration of an efi'ective world as a selective screen in which what 

^ Sir Fred Clarke, Freedom in the Educative Society, Educational Issues of Today, 
ed. by W. R. Niblett (London: University of London Press, 1946), pp. 53-67. 

« Ibid, p. 67 f. 

^ Ibid, p. 68; Sir Herbert Read, Education Through Art (New York: Pantheon 
Books, 1945), 2nd Ed., pp. 279-289. 


Between Man and Man 

is kept in and what is left out is determined by the organic social pattern 
through the medium of the teacher's 'sense of a total organism's feeling- 
behaviour.' ^ Buber does indeed point a way out of both isolated indivi- 
dualism and the 'oppositeness' between the pupil and the teacher. He 
does so, however, not through any attempt to recapture organic whole- 
ness in the classroom nor through any positing of organic wholeness in 
society, but through the dialogical relation in which the I and the Thou 
remain separate and really *other' beings. 

The task of the educator, writes Buber, is to bring the individual face 
to face with God through making him responsible for himself rather 
than dependent for his decisions upon any organic or collective unity. 
Education worthy of the name is essentially education of character. 
The concern of the educator is always with the person as a whole both 
in his present actuality and his future possibilities. The teacher's only 
access to the wholeness of the pupil is through winning his confidence, 
and this is done through his direct and ingenuous participation in the 
lives of his pupils and through his acceptance of responsibility for this 
participation. Feeling that the teacher accepts him before desiring to 
influence him, the pupil learns to ask. This confidence does not imply 
agreement, however, and it is in conflict with the pupil that the teacher 
meets his supreme test. He may not hold back his own insights, yet he 
must stand ready to comfort the pupil if he is conquered or, if he cannot 
conquer him, to bridge the difficult situation with a word of love. Thus 
the 'oppositeness' between teacher and pupil need not cease, but it is 
enclosed in relation and so does not degenerate into a battle of wills. 
Everything that passes between such a teacher and a pupil may be 
educative, for *it is not the educational intention but ... the meeting 
which is educationally fruitful.' ^ 

There are two basic ways by which one may influence the formation 
of the minds and lives of others, writes Buber. In the first, one imposes 
one's opinion and attitude on the other in such a way that his psychic 
action is really one's own. In the second, one discovers and nourishes 
in the soul of the other what one has recognized in oneself as the right. 
Because it is the right, it must also be living in the other as a possibility 
among possibilities, a potentiality which only needs to be unlocked — 
unlocked not through instruction but through meeting, through the 
existential conmiunication between one who has found direction and 
one who is finding it. 

The first way is most highly developed in propaganda, the second in 
education. The propagandist is not really concerned with the person 
whom he wishes to influence. Some of this person's individual properties 
are of importance to the propagandist, but only in so far as they can 

^ Education Through Art, p. 287 flf. 

* Between Man and Man, The Education of Character,' pp. 103-108. 


be exploited for his purposes. The educator, in contrast, recognizes each 
of his pupils as a single, unique person, the bearer of a special task of 
being which can be fulfilled through him and through him alone. He 
has learned to understand himself as the helper of each in the inner 
battle between the actualizing forces and those which oppose them. 
But he cannot desire to impose on the other the product of his own 
struggle for actualization, for he believes that the right must be realized 
in each man in a unique personal way. The propagandist does not trust 
his cause to take effect out of its own power without the aid of the 
loudspeaker, the spotlight, and the television screen. The true educator, 
in contrast, believes in the power which is scattered in all human beings 
in order to grow in each to a special form. He has confidence that all 
that this growth needs is the help which he is at times called to give 
through his meeting with this person who is entrusted to his care.^ 

The significance for education of Buber's distinction between propa- 
ganda and legitimate influence can hardly be overestimated. The 
ordinary approaches to this problem have tended to be anxious and un- 
fruitful. One of these is the desire to safeguard the student by demanding 
of the teacher an illusory objectivity, as if the teacher had no commit- 
ment to a certain field of knowledge, to a method of approaching this 
field, and to a set of attitudes and value assumptions which are em- 
bodied in the questions which he raises. It is also impossible to safe- 
guard the student by any distinctions in content, such as what is 
'progressive' and what is 'reactionary,' what is 'patriotic' and what is 
'subversive,' what is in the spirit of science and what is not. These are 
in essence distinctions between the propaganda of which one approves 
and the propaganda of which one disapproves. They betray a lack of 
real faith in the student as a person who must develop his own unique 
relation to the truth. The true alternative to false objectivity and to 
standards set from the outside is not, of course, that subjectivity which 
imprisons the teacher within his own attachments or the absence of any 
value standards. It is the teacher's selection of the efi"ective world and 
the act of inclusion, or experiencing the other side, to which Buber has 

The real choice, then, does not lie between a teacher's having values 
and not having them, but between his imposing those values on the 
student and his allowing them to come to flower in the student in a way 
which is appropriate to the student's personality. One of the most 
difficult problems which any modern teacher encounters is that of 
cultural relativism. The mark of our time, writes Buber, is the denial 
that values are anything other than the subjective needs of groups. This 
denial is not a product of reason but of the sickness of our age; hence 
it is futile to meet it with arguments. AU that the teacher can do is to 

' 'Elements of the Interhuman,' op. cit., p. 110 f. 


Between Man and Man 

help keep awake in the pupil the pain which he suffers through his 
distorted relation to his own self and thus awaken his desire to become 
a real and whole person. The teacher can do this best of all when he 
recognizes that his real goal is the education of great character. 
Character cannot be understood in Kerschensteiner's terms as an 
organization of self-control by means of the accumulation of maxims 
nor in Dewey's terms as a system of interpenetrating habits. The great 
character acts from the whole of his substance and reacts in accordance 
with the uniqueness of every situation. He responds to the new face 
which each situation wears despite all similarity to others. The situation 
'demands nothing of what is past. It demands presence, responsibility ; it 
demands you.' ^ The teacher is not faced with a choice between educating 
the occasional great character and the many who will not be great. It is 
precisely through his insight into the structure of the great character that 
he finds the way by which alone he can influence the victims of collecti- 
vism. He can awaken in them the desire to shoulder responsibility again 
by bringing before them 'the image of a great character who denies no 
answer to life and the world, but accepts responsibility for everything 
essential that he meets.' ^ 

Just what this attitude toward the education of character means in 
practice is best shown by Ruber's own application of it to adult educa- 
tion. He conceives of adult education not as an e>. tension of the profes- 
sional training of the universities but as a means of creating a certain 
type of man demanded by a certain historical situation. The great need 
in the state of Israel today is the integration into one whole of the 
peoples of very different backgrounds and levels of culture who have 
immigrated there. To meet this need Buber has set up and directed an 
institute for adult education which devotes itself solely to the training 
of teachers to go out into the immigration camps and live with the 
people there. To produce the right kind of teacher the institute has 
developed a method of teaching based on personal contact and on 
living together in community. Instruction is not carried on in general 
classes but individually in accordance with what each person needs.^ 
The education of these future teachers toward the task which lies ahead 
of them would be impossible if the teacher were not in a position to get 
to know the students individually and to establish contact with every 
one of them. *What is sought is a truly reciprocal conversation in which 
both sides are full partners.' The teacher leads and directs this conversa- 

1 Between Man and Man, 'The Education of Character,' pp. 108-116. 

2 Ibid., pp. 113-116. 

' From an informal address by Professor Buber on 'Adult Education in Israel,' 
edited by me from a transcript of the recording and published in Torch, the 
Magazine of the National Federation of Jewish Men's Clubs of the United 
Synagogue of America, June 1952. 



tion, and enters it without any restraint. The teacher should ask genuine 
questions to which he does not know the full answer himself, and the 
student in turn should give the teacher information concerning his 
experiences and opinions. Conversely, when the teacher is asked a 
question by the student, his reply should proceed from the depths of 
his own personal experience.^ 

In order to be able to teach in an immigration camp, the student has 
to learn to live with people in all situations of their lives, and for this 
reason the teachers at the institute are prepared to deal with the personal 
lives of the students. This concern with the students' personal lives does 
not mean that the students do not learn the classics, Jewish and other- 
wise, but they do so in order that they may become whole persons able 
to influence others and not for the knowledge itself. *Adult education 
is concerned with character,' says Buber, *and character is not above 
situation, but is attached to the cruel, hard demand of this hour.' ^ 

* Martin Buber, 'A New Venture in Adult Education,' The Hebrew University 
of Jerusalem, Semi- Jubilee Volume (Jerusalem: The Hebrew University, April 1950), 
p. 117f. 

2 'Adult Education in Israel,' op. cit. 



BECAUSE Buber's dialogical philosophy does not imply any 
dualistic rejection of the ordered world of I-It but only an inter- 
penetration of that world by I-Thou, it does not exclude the 
findings of the more scientifically or mechanistically oriented schools of 
psychology, such as behaviourism, associationism, or Freudian psycho- 
analysis. To the extent, however, that these schools of psychology are 
given over to pure subject-object knowledge of the nature of man, the 
philosophy of dialogue must limit their competence to judge the essence 
of man as a whole in relation to other men. The attempt of behaviour- 
istic psychology, for example, to externarze reality into pure action- 
response not only denies the reality of the participating subjective 
consciousness but, equally important, the reality of personality as a 
more or less integral whole and the reality of the relations between 
persons as that which calls the personality into existence.^ 

If psychology and psychoanalysis are to be successful in their en- 
deavour to understand and to heal men, they must be grounded in a 
realistic conception of what man is. This conception must not only be 
able to deal with the individual in isolation and in terms of individual 
complexes and aspects of his personality but also as a whole person in 
relation to other persons and to society. It is just here — in the concep- 
tion of what makes up a person and how he relates to other individuals 
and to society — that the different schools of psychology part company. 
This divergence is as much a matter of method as of final aim, for both 
are aff'ected by the underlying conception of what man is. 

One who understands the essence of man in terms of the dialogical 
relation between men must walk a narrow ridge between the indivi- 
dualistic psychology which places all reality within the isolated in- 
dividual and the social psychology which places all reality in the organic 
group and in the interaction of social forces. An American psycho- 
analyst who comes remarkably close to this narrow ridge is Erich 
Fromm. Fromm criticizes Freud for picturing all interpersonal relations 

^ Cf. Paul, The Meaning of Existence, op. cit., chap, iii, 'The Crisis for Psychology.' 


as the use of the other to satisfy biologically given drives and hence as 
a means to one's ends. He redefines the key problem of psychology as 
'that of the specific kind of relatedness of the individual towards the 
world and not that of the satisfaction or frustration of this or that 
instinctual need per se.' Fromm, like Buber, holds that man's nature is 
a social product and also holds that man is genuinely free and respon- 
sible. He takes over Harry Stack Sullivan's concept of psychology as 
fundamentally social psychology, or 'psychology of interpersonal 
relationships.' At the same time, he rejects those theories, 'more or less 
tinged with behaviouristic psychology,' which assume 'that human nature 
has no dynamism of its own and that psychological changes are to be 
understood in terms of the development of new "habits" as an adapta- 
tion to new cultural patterns.' ^ 

The psychological significance of the I-Thou relation was recognized, 
independently of Buber, in Ferdinand Ebner's Das Wort und die 
geistigen Realitdten. Insanity, writes Ebner, is the end product of 
'IcheinsamkeW and 'DulosigkeW — the complete closedness of the I to 
the Thou. It is a spiritual condition in which neither the word nor love 
is any longer able to reach the individual. The irrationality of the insane 
man lies in the fact that he talks past men and is unable to speak to a 
concrete Thou. The world has become for him the projection of his I, 
not just theoretically, as in idealism, but practically, and for this reason 
he can only speak to a fictitious Thou.^ 

This type of psychosis is explained by Buber in poetic terms in / and 
Thou. 'If a man does not represent the a priori of relation in his living 
with the world,' writes Buber, 'if he does not work out and realize the 
inborn Thou on what meets it, then it strikes inwards.' As a result, 
confrontation of what is over against one takes place in oneself, and 
this means self-contradiction — the horror of an inner double. 'Here is 
the verge of life, flight of an unfulfilled life to the senseless semblance 
of fulfilment, and its groping in a maze and losing itself ever more 
profoundly.' ^ 

Ebner's and Buber's intuitions of the origin of insanity have been 
confirmed by Viktor von Weizsacker, a doctor and psychiatrist who has 
made an important contribution to the field of psychosomatic medicine. 
Buber unquestionably exercised an important influence on von Weiz- 
sacker since it was during the years in which the two men associated 
as co-editors of the periodical Die Kreatur that von Weizsacker began 

^ Erich Fromm, Escape from Freedom (New York: Rinehart & Co., 1941), 
chaps, i, ii, and Appendix, see especially pp. 9-15, 26, 289-294, 298 f.; Erich Fromm, 
Man for Himself, An Inquiry into the Psychology of Ethics (New York: Rinehart 
& Co., 1947), pp. 20-24. It is probable that Buber exercised some direct influence 
on Fromm's thought since as a young man Fromm belonged to the Frankfurt circle 
of students of the Bible and Judaism led by Franz Rosenzweig and Martin Buber. 

* Ebner, op. cit., pp. 47 f., 81, 155. ' I and Thou, p. 69 f. 


Between Man and Man 

his application of dialogical philosophy to medicine and psychotherapy. 
What makes us mistrustful of many psychotics, writes von Weizsacker, 
is that their self-deification and self-degradation lack all moderation. 
The cause of this overvaluation of the self is the isolation of the psycho- 
tic, the fact that he has no Thou for his I. The result of this absence 
of a Thou is just such an inner double as Buber pointed to in / and 
Thou. This illusion of the double is unavoidable after a man has lost 
his connection with a Thou, writes von Weizsacker, for the state of 
aloneness that he has reached then is unbearable. 'The splitting of the 
I represents — ^for an instant — the now unattainable relation of the I to 
the Thou.' ^ 

Von Weizsacker has pointed out the implications of the I-Thou 
philosophy not only for psychotherapy but for medicine in general. He 
sets forth a 'medical anthropology' which begins with the recognition 
of the difference between the objective understanding of somQthing and 
the 'transjective' understanding of someone. The patient, like the 
doctor, is a subject who cannot become an object. The doctor can, 
none the less, understand him if he begins not with objective knowledge 
but with questions. Only through the real contact of the doctor and 
the patient does objective science have a part in the history of the 
latter's illness. As soon as this contact is lacking, all information about 
functions, drives, properties, and capacities is falsified. This too is a 
doctrine of experience, writes von Weizsacker, a doctrine of the 
comradeship of doctor and patient along the way of the illness and its 
cure. This comradeship takes place not despite technique and rational- 
ization but through and with them. The smooth functioning of the 
objective practitioner lasts just as long as there is a self-understood 
relation between doctor and patient, unnoticed because unthreatened. 
But if the de facto assent to this relation falls away, then the objectivity 
is doubtful and no longer of use.^ 

Von Weizsacker expands this relationship of doctor and patient into 
an all-embracing distinction between objective and 'inclusive' ('wm- 
fassender') therapy. He uses 'inclusive' here in the same sense as that 
in which Buber uses 'inclusion' {' Umfassung') in his discussion of 
education, that is, as experiencing the other side. The most important 
characteristic of an inclusive therapy, in von Weizsacker's opinion, is 
that the doctor allows himself to be changed by the patient, that he 
allows all the impulses that proceed from the person of the patient to 

1 Viktor von Weizsacker, Fdlle und Probleme. Anthropologische Vorlesungen in 
der medizinischen Klinik (Stuttgart: Ferdinand Enke Verlag, 1947), p. 187 ff. (my 

2 Viktor von Weizsacker, Arzt und Kranker, Vol. I, 3rd Ed. (Stuttgart: K. F. 
Koehler Verlag, 1949), 'Stucke einer medizinischen Anthropologic' (first appeared 
in Die Kreatur, Vol. II, 1927), pp. 79-88, 136-147, 'Kranker und Arzt' (1928), p. 166 ff. 


affect him, that he is receptive, not only with the objective sense of 
sight but also with hearing, which brings the I and the Thou more 
effectively together. Only through this ever-new insertion of his person- 
ality can the doctor bring his capacities to full realization in his relation 
with his patient.^ 

A number of European psychologists and psychoanalysts in addition 
to von Weizsacker have recognized the importance of Buber's I-Thou 
philosophy for psychology and have made contributions to the under- 
standing of the relationship between the two. One of the most important 
of these contributions is Ludwig Binswanger's voluminous Grundformen 
und Erkenntnis nienschlichen Daseins, in which Binswanger reorients his 
psychology entirely around the I-Thou relation and relies heavily on 
Buber's concept of 'meeting.' Binswanger sees particularly clearly that 
the loving meeting of I and Thou can in no sense be equated with 
Heidegger's 'Mitsein' (togetherness) or 'Fiirsorge' (solicitude), and he 
also follows Buber in his recognition that the I-Thou relation is an 
ontological reality which cannot be reduced to what takes place within 
each of the members of the relationship. ^ 

Another application of Buber's thought to psychology is that of the 
psychoanalyst Arie Sborowitz. Sborowitz compares the teachings of 
Buber and C. G. Jung and suggests an approach that would combine 
the essential elements of both. He shows how Buber stresses the positive 
— the elements of true relationship — and Jung the negative — the 
obstacles to relationship, such as 'introjection,' 'projection,' and 'identi- 
fication,' and he suggests that the one is necessarily the ground for the 
reality of the other. Jung has given important emphasis to destiny, 
Buber to relationship, and these two, in Sborowitz's opinion, may go 
together to make up an adequate conception of psychology. This con- 
ception must include both the individual's relations to others and his 
relation to his own self, both grace and freedom, responsibility and 
destiny, oneness with the world and oneness in oneself.^ 

The emphases of Buber and Jung are not so compatible as Sborowitz 

1 Ibid., pp. 169-179. Cf. Between Man and Man, op. dr., 'Education,' pp. 98-101; 
Dialogisches Leben, op. cit., 'Uber das Erzieherische,' pp. 281-285. Cf. Viktor von 
Weizsacker, Diesseits und jenseits der Medizin, Artz und Kr anker, new series 
(Stuttgart: K. F. Koehler Veriag, 1950), 'Grundfragen Medizinischer Anthropologic' 
(1947), pp. 143-147, 'Nach Freud' (1948), p. 258. See also: Viktor von Weizsacker, 
Anonyma (Bern: Veriag A. Francke, 1946), 'Es-Bildung,' p. 24 ff., 'Begegnung der 
Monaden,' p. 27 f. 

* Binswanger, op. cit., pp. 16 ff., 21, 29-34, 46 f , 57, 82 ff., 85 f , 97 ff., 105 f., 
130-133, 163, 166 f., 210-215, 234 f., 264 f. For a more comprehensive discussion 
of Binswanger's Grundformen, see Edith Weigert 'Existentialism and Psychotherapy,' 
Psychiatry, XII (1949), 399-412. 

3 Arie Sborowitz, 'Beziehung und Bestimmung, Die Lehren von Martin Buber 
und C. G. Jung in ihrem Verhaltnis zueinander,' Psyche, Eine Zeitschrift fiir Tiefen- 
psychologic und Menschenkunde in Forschung und Praxis, II (1948), 9-56. 


Between Man and Man 

thinks. Buber sees reality as between selves, Jung as within the self, and 
their concepts of relationship to others and of personal vocation cor- 
respond to those basic views. To Jung destiny is something that takes 
place within the soul or self whereas to Buber destiny, or vocation 
(Bestimmung), is the response of the self to that outside it which 
addresses it. To Buber every man has something unique to contribute, 
but he is called to fulfil this potentiality, not destined. The integration 
of the personality, correspondingly, is not an end in itself to Buber, as 
it is to Jung: one becomes whole in order to be able to respond to what 
addresses one. Jung ignores the fact that the essential life of the in- 
dividual soul 'consists of real meetings with other realities,' writes 
Buber. Although he speaks of the self as including both the I and the 
'others,* the 'others' are clearly included not in their actual 'otherness,' 
but 'only as contents of the individual soul that shall, just as an indivi- 
dual soul, attain its perfection through individuation.' Both God and 
man are incorporated by Jung in 'the self,' and this means that they are 
included not as Thou but as It. It is not surprising, therefore, that Jung 
speaks of the integrated self as 'indistinguishable from a divine image' 
and of self-realization as 'the incarnation of God.' The fact that this 
process of self-deification takes place through the 'collective uncon- 
scious' does not give it the universality that it at first appears to, for 
Jung makes it clear that 'even the collective unconscious . . . can enter 
ever again into experience only through the individual psyche.' ^ 

Sborowitz also fails to see the difference between Jung's system with 
its universally valid conceptions and Buber's anti-systematic emphasis 
on the concrete, the unique, and the unexpected. Jung's system, like 
that of most schools of psychoanalysis, is based on the reality of the 
typical, the general, the past — what has already become and is already 
enregistered in our categories of thought. As such it cannot possibly 
understand the real uniqueness of each person nor the reality of the 
healing which takes place in the relationship between analyst and 
patient. The analyst-patient relationship may, in fact, be an I-Thou 
relationship similar to that between the teacher and the pupil, and it is 
probable that in practice the success of any analytic cure is due quite as 
much to whether or not such a relationship exists as to the technical 
competence of the doctor.^ Particularly important in this relationship 
is what Buber has variously called 'seeing the other,' 'experiencing the 
other side,' 'inclusion,' and 'making the other present.' This 'seeing the 
other' is not, as we have seen, a matter of 'identification' or 'empathy,' 
but of a concrete imagining of the other side which does not at the same 

^ Eclipse of God, op. cit., 'Religion and Modem Thinking,' pp. 104-121, 'Supple- 
ment: Reply to C. G. Jung,' pp. 171-176; land Thou, p. 86. Cf. Jung, The Integration 
of the Personality, op. cit. 

2 Cf. The Meaning of Human Existence, pp. 85-93. 


time lose sight of one's own. The analyst may tend, however, to reduce 
the patient's history and present happenings to general categories, and 
the patient may tend to lose his own sense of being a whole person 
engaged in present meetings. Analysis helps the patient to avoid the 
neurotic identifications and projections which he has carried over from 
the past, but it may hinder his responding to the unique and unexpected 
in the real present. Analysis may tend to turn the patient back in on 
himself, and it may lead him to regard true as well as pseudo-relation- 
ships as internal events within separate individuals. 

Buber has himself made several important distinctions between the 
philosophy of dialogue and the theory of psychoanalysis. He points out 
that serving God with the *evil urge' is like psychoanalytic 'sublimation' 
in that it makes creative use of basic energies rather than suppressing 
them. He speaks of the evil urge in connection with *the uplifting of 
sexuality,' and he identifies alien thoughts and the evil urge with imagina- 
tion and fantasy. But he also shows that serving God with the evil urge 
differs from sublimation, as it is conceived by Freud, in that it takes 
place as a by-product of the I-Thou relationship rather than as an 
essentially individual event in which the individual uses his relationship 
with other things for his own self-realization. "'Sublimation" takes 
place within the man himself, the "raising of the spark" takes place 
between man and the world.' It is 'a real encounter with real elements 
of Being, which are outside ourselves.' ^ 

Hasidic teaching is like psychoanalysis, writes Buber, in that it refers 
one from the problematic of external life to that of the inner life, and it 
shows the need of beginning with oneself rather than demanding that 
both parties to a relationship change together. It differs from psycho- 
analytic theory, however, in that it does not proceed from the investi- 
gation of individual psychological complications but rather from the 
whole man. Pulling out separate parts and processes always hinders the 
grasping of the whole, and only the understanding of wholeness as 
wholeness can lead to the real transformation and healing of the indivi- 
dual and of his relations with his fellow-men. This does not mean that 
the phenomena of the soul are not to be observed, but none of them is 
to be placed in the centre of observation as if all the rest were derived 
from it. One must rather begin with all points, and not in isolation but 
just in their vital connection. Finally, and most important of all 
according to Buber, the person is not treated here as an object of 
investigation but is summoned *to set himseff to rights,' to bring his 
inner being to unity so that he may respond to the address of Being 
over against him.^ 

1 Tales of the Hasidim, The Early Masters, op. cit., p. 21; Hasidism op cit., 
'The Beginnings of Hasidism,' p. 31 f., 'The Foundation Stone,' pp. 50 t., 54 l. 

2 The Way of Man, op. cit., p. 29 f. 


Between Man and Man 

Buber gives us the fullest insight into the implications of dialogue for 
psychotherapy in his discussion of the way in which the great zaddikim 
healed those who came to them for help. To obtain a right perspective 
we must remember, he says, 'that the relation of a soul to its organic 
life depends on the degree of wholeness and unity attained by the soul.' 
The more dissociated the soul is, so much the more is it at the 
mercy of the organic life ; the more unified it is in itself, so much 
the more is it the master of its physical ailments and attacks; not as 
if it vanquished the body, but because through its unity it ever saves 
and guards the unity of the body. 

This process of healing can best be effected, writes Buber, 'through the 
psycho-synthetic appearance of a whole, unified soul, which lays hold 
of the shattered soul, agitates it on all sides, and hastens the event of 
crystallization.' Here the term 'psycho-synthetic' is clearly used in 
conscious contrast with 'psychoanalytic' to suggest the procedure from 
wholeness as contrasted with the procedure from isolated parts and 
complexes. The unified soul shapes a centre in the soul which is calling 
to her and at the same time takes care that this soul does not remain 
dependent upon her. The helper does not place his own image in the 
soul that he helps. Instead 'he lets her see through him, as through a 
glass, the essence of all things.' He then lets her uncover that essence 
in herself and appropriate it as the core of her own living unity. ^ 

That Buber does not feel that such a way of healing is closed to the 
professional psychotherapist is shown by his preface to Hans Triib's 
posthumous book, Heilung aus der Begegnung ('Healing Out of 
Meeting'). In this preface he treats of the paradox of the analyst's 
profession. The doctor analyses the psychic phenomena which the 
patient brings before him according to the theory of his school, and he 
does so in general with the co-operation of the patient, whom the 
tranquilizing and to some extent orienting and integrating procedure 
tends to please. But in some cases the presentiment comes over him that 
something entirely other is demanded of him, something incompatible 
with the economics of the calling and threatening to its regulated 
procedures. What is demanded of him is that he draw the case out of 
the correct methodological objectification and himself step forth out 
of his protected professional superiority into the elementary situation 
between one who asks and one who is asked. The abyss in the patient 
calls to the abyss, the real, unprotected self, in the doctor and not to his 
confidently functioning security of action. ^ 

^ Hasidism, 'Spirit and Body of the Hasidic Movement,' p. 87 f. 

» Martin Buber, 'Heilung aus der Begegnung,' Neue Schweizer Rundschau, XIX, 
Heft 6 (October 1951), pp. 382-386. This is the preface to Hans Triib, Heilung aus 
der Begegnung. Eine Auseinandersetzung mit der Psychologie C. G. Jungs, edited by 
Ernst Michel and Arie Sborowitz (Stuttgart: Emst Klett Verlag, 1952). 


The analyst returns from this paradox into the methodic, but he does 
so as a changed person returning into a changed method, namely as one 
for whom the necessity has opened of a genuine personal meeting 
between the one in need of help and the helper. In this new methodic 
the unexpected, that which contradicts the prevailing theories and 
demands his personal participation, finds place. 

He has left in a decisive hour ... the closed room of psycho- 
logical treatment in which the analyst rules by means of his 
systematic and methodological superiority and has gone forth 
with his patient into the air of the world where selfhood is opposed 
to selfhood. There in the closed room, where one probed and 
treated the isolated psyche according to the inclination of the self- 
encapsulated patient, the patient was referred to ever-deeper levels 
of his inwardness as to his proper world; here outside, in the 
immediacy of human standing over against each other, the en- 
capsulation must and can be broken through, and a transformed, 
healed relationship must and can be opened to the sick person in 
his relations to otherness — to the world of the other which he can- 
not remove into his soul. A soul is never sick alone, but always 
through a betweenness, a situation between it and another existing 
being. The psychotherapist who has passed through the crisis may 
now dare to touch on this.^ 

A significant confirmation of Ruber's attitude toward psychotherapy 
is found in the recent developments in the 'client-centred' therapy of 
Dr. Carl R. Rogers and the University of Chicago Counseling Center. 
In Client-Centered Therapy (1951) Dr. Rogers states that the role of the 
counsellor in *nondirective' therapy is not, as is often thought, a merely 
passive laissez-faire policy, but an active acceptance of the client as a 
person of worth for whom the counsellor has real respect. Client- 
centred therapy stresses above all the counsellor's assuming the internal 
frame of reference of the client and perceiving both the world and the 
client through the client's own eyes.^ 

The striking parallel between this conception and Ruber's concepts 
of 'seeing the other,' 'experiencing the other side,' and 'making the 
other present' is strengthened by Roger's descriptions of what seeing 
through the client's eyes actually means. For Rogers as for Buber it is 
important in the process of the person's becoming that he know himself 
to be understood and accepted, or in Buber' s terms made present and 
confirmed, by the therapist. For both men this means 'an active 
experiencing with the client of the feelings to which he gives expression,' 

1 Ibid., p. 384 f. (my translation). 

2 Carl R. Rogers, Client-Centered Therapy^ Its Current Practice, Implications, 
and Theory (Boston: Houghton MiflElin Co., 1951), pp. 20-29. 


Between Man and Man 

a trying *to get within and to live the attitudes expressed instead of 
observing them.* For both this implies at the same time a certain 
distance and absence of emotional involvement — an experiencing of the 
feeUngs from the side of the client without an emotional identification 
that would cause the counsellor to experience these feelings himself, as 
counsellor. Finally, it implies for both a laying aside of the preoccupa- 
tion with professional analysis, diagnosis, and evaluation in favour of 
an acceptance and understanding of the client based on true attitudes 
of respect which are deeply and genuinely felt by the therapist.^ Rogers 
is willing to extend this respect and trust even to a patient in danger of 
committing suicide or one who has been institutionahzed. He explains 
this attitude in a statement remarkably close to Ruber's spirit: 

To enter deeply with this man into his confused struggle for self- 
hood is perhaps the best implementation we now know for 
indicating the meaning of our basic hypothesis that the individual 
represents a process which is deeply worthy of respect, both as he 
is and with regard to his potentialities.- 

A corollary of client-centred therapy is the recognition that good 
interpersonal relationships depend upon the understanding and accep- 
tance of the other as a separate person, *operating in terms of his own 
meanings, based on his own perceptual field.' Here too Rogers is like 
Buber, and like him also he sees the recognition of the separateness of 
others as made possible through a relationship in which the person is 
himself confirmed in his own being. A person comes to accept others, 
in Rogers's opinion, through his acceptance of himself, and this in turn 
takes place through the acceptance of the child by the parent or of the 
client by the therapist.^ In this same connection Rogers discusses the 
possibihty that the real essence of therapy is not so much the client's 
memory of the past, his explorations of problems, or his admission of 
experiences into awareness as his direct experiencing in the therapy 

The process of therapy is, by these hypotheses, seen as being 
synonymous with the experiential relationship between client and 
therapist. Therapy consists in experiencing the self in a wide range 
of ways in an emotionally meaningful relationship with the 

Although this new concern with the experiential relationship between 
client and therapist was *still in an infant and groping stage' in 1951, 

^ Carl R. Rogers, Client-Centered Therapy, op. cit., pp. 29-45, 55. 
2 Ibid., pp. 43-49, quotation from p. 45. 
' Ibid, p. 520 ff. 

* Ibid., pp. 158-172, quotation from p. 172. 


there are indications that Rogers himself, if not the counselling group 
as a whole, has moved somewhat further in this direction since then. 
In a recent paper Rogers defines a person as a fluid process and poten- 
tiality *in rather sharp contrast to the relatively fixed, measurable, 
diagnosable, predictable concept of the person which is accepted by 
psychologists and other social scientists to judge by their writings and 
working operations.' The person as process is most deeply revealed, he 
writes, in a relationship of the most ultimate and complete acceptance, 
and he himself describes this relation as *a real I-Thou relationship, not 
an I-It relationship.' Like Buber, too, he sees the person as moving in 
a positive direction toward unique goals that the person himself can 
but dimly define.^ 

More significant parallels still are found in a recent description by 
Rogers of the role of the therapist. The therapist, he writes, 'enters the 
relationship not as a scientist, not as a physician who can accurately 
diagnose and cure, but as a person, entering into a personal relation- 
ship.' Like Buber in the Preface to Heilung aus der Begegnung, Rogers 
recognizes that the therapist must really risk himself in the therapeutic 
relationship. He must risk the client's repudiation of him and the 
relationship, and the consequent loss of a part of himself. The therapist 
conducts the therapy without conscious plan and responds to the other 
person with his whole being, 'his total organismic sensitivity.' In de- 
scribing the results of this total personal response, Rogers again makes 
use of Buber's concept of the I-Thou relation : 

When there is this complete unity, singleness, fullness of experi- 
encing in the relationship, then it acquires the 'out-of-this-world' 
quality which therapists have remarked upon, a sort of trance-like 
feeling in the relationship from which both client and therapist 
emerge at the end of the hour, as if from a deep well or tunnel. In 
these moments there is, to borrow Buber's phrase, a real "I-Thou" 
relationship, a timeless living in the experience which is between 
client and therapist. It is at the opposite pole from seeing the client, 
or oneself, as an object. ^ 

Through his willingness to risk himself and his confidence in the client, 
the therapist makes it easier for the client to take the plunge into the 
stream of experiencing. This process of becoming opens up a new way 
of living in which the client 'feels more unique and hence more alone' 
but at the same time is able, like Buber's 'Single One,' to enter into 

^ From an unpublished paper of Professor Rogers entitled 'Some Personal 
Formulations,' written in 1952 and quoted with the permission of the author. 

^ From an unpublished paper of Professor Rogers entitled 'Persons or Science? — 
A Philosophical Question,' written in 1952 and quoted with the permission of the 


Between Man and Man 

relations with others that are deeper and more satisfying and that *draw 
more of the realness of the other person into the relationship.' ^ 

In his preface to Hans Triib's book Buber points primarily to the 
trail which Triib himself broke as a practising psychoanalyst who saw 
the concrete implications of Buber's thought for psychotherapy. Triib, 
like Sborowitz, was deeply influenced by both Buber and Jung, but he 
has shown more clearly than Sborowitz the limitations of Jung's 
thought. He describes how he went through a decade-long crisis in 
which he broke with his personal and doctrinal dependence on Jung 
in favour of the new insights that his relationship with Buber gave him. 
What had the greatest influence on Triib was not Buber's doctrine but 
the meeting with him as person to person, and it is from this meeting 
that the revolutionary changes in Triib's method of psychotherapy 
proceeded. Triib writes that he found himself fully disarmed in time by 
the fact that in conversation Buber was not concerned about the ideas 
of his partner but about the partner himself. It became ever clearer to 
Triib that in such unreserved interchange it is simply not possible to 
bring any hidden intention with one and to pursue it. In this dialogic 
one individuality did not triumph over the other, for each remained 
continually the same. Yet Triib emerged from this meeting '"renewed 
for all time," with my knowledge of the reality of things brought one 
step nearer to the truth.' *What gives Buber his imperishable greatness 
and makes his life into symbolic existence,' writes Triib, *is that he steps 
forth as this single man and talks directly to men.' ^ 

Martin Buber is for me the symbol of continually renewed 
decision. He does not shut the mystery away in his individuality, 
but rather from out of the basic ground of the mystery itself he 
seeks binding with other men. He lets a soft tone sound and swell 
in himself and listens for the echo from the other side. Thus he 
receives the direction to the other and thus in dialogue he finds the 
other as his partner. And in this meeting he consciously allows all 
of his individuality to enter ... for the sake of the need and the 
meaning of the world.^ 

Triib describes how in his work with his patients he became aware of 
the invariable tendency of the primary consciousness to become mono- 

^ From an unpublished paper of Professor Rogers entitled 'Persons or Science? — 
A Philosophical Question,' written in 1952 and quoted with the permission of the 
author. The last two sentences have been slightly altered from the original under 
instructions from Professor Rogers in a letter to me of December 12, 1952. 

2 Hans Triib, 'Individuation, Schuld und Entscheidung. Ober die Grenzen der 
Psychologie,' in Die kulturelle Bedeutung der Komplexen Psychologie, ed. by 
Psychologischen Club Zurich (Berlin: Julius Springer Verlag, 1935), pp. 529-542, 
553, quotations from pp. 542, 553 (my translation). This essay will be found in 
whole or in part in Triib, Heilung aus der Begegnung (see p. 190, n. 2, above). 

^ Ibid., p. 554 (my translation). 



logical and self-defeating. He also tells how this closed circle of the self 
was again and again forced outward toward relationship through those 
times when, despite his will, he found himself confronting his patient 
not as an analyst but as human being to human being. From these 
experiences he came to understand the full meaning of the analyst's 
responsibility.^ The analyst takes responsibility for lost and forgotten 
things, and with the aid of his psychology he helps to bring them to 
light. But he knows in the depths of his self that the secret meaning of 
these things that have been brought to consciousness first reveals itself 
in the outgoing to the other. 

Psychology as science and psychology as function know about 
the soul of man as about something in the third person. . . . They 
look down from above into the world of inner things, into the 
inner world of the individual. And they deal with its contents as 
with their 'objects,' giving names and creating classifications. . . . 
But the psychotherapist in his work with the ill is essentially a 
human being. . . . Therefore he seeks and loves the human being in 
his patients and allows it ... to come to him ever again. ^ 

The personal experience which caused Triib to break through from 
the security of Jung's system to the insecurity of Buber's meeting and 
relationship was an overwhelming sense of guilt. This guilt was no 
longer such as could be explained away or removed, for it was subjec- 
tively experienced as the guilt of a person who had stepped out of real 
relationship to the world and tried to live in a spiritual world above 
reality.^ Both Triib and Buber show that guilt is an essential factor in 
the person's relations to others and that it performs the necessary func- 
tion of leading him to desire to set these relations to rights. It is just 
here, in the real guilt of the person who has not responded to the legiti- 
mate claim and address of the world, that the possibihty of trans- 
formation and healing lies.* 

Buber's and Triib's understanding of guilt as a primal reality sets 
them in marked contrast to the predominant modern trend toward 
explaining it away as the product of social and psychological condi- 
tioning. True guilt, of course, is not the neurotic, tormented self- 
preoccupation which so often goes by that name. 'There is a sterile 
kind of heart-searching,' writes Buber, 'which leads to nothing but self- 
torture, despair and still deeper enmeshment.' This latter is not a true 
awareness of the voice, but 'reflexion,' a turning back on oneself which 

1 Ibid., pp. 543-550. 

* Ibid., p. 550 f. (my translation). Cf. Hans Triib, Aus einem Winkel meines 
Sprechzimmers (Berlin: Verlag Lambert Schneider, 1930), also to be found in whole 
or in part in Heilung aus der Begegnung. 

^ 'Individuation, Schuld und Entscheidung,' pp. 531-539. 

* Martin Buber, 'Heilung aus der Begegnung,' op. cit. 


Between Man and Man 

uses up the energies that one could spend in turning to the Thou. True 
guilt, in contrast, takes place between man and man. It has an ontic, 
superpersonal character of which the feeling of guilt is only the subjec- 
tive and psychological counterpart. *Guilt does not reside in the human 
person. On the contrary, he stands in the most realistic sense in the guilt 
which envelops him.' Similarly, the repression of guilt and the neuroses 
which result from this repression are not merely psychological pheno- 
mena but real events between men.^ 

Real guilt is the beginning of ethos, or responsibility, writes Triib, but 
before the patient can become aware of it, he must be helped by the 
analyst to become aware of himself in general. This the analyst docs 
through playing the part both of confidante and big brother. He gives 
the neurotic the understanding which the world has denied him and 
makes it more and more possible for him to step out of his self- 
imprisonment into a genuine relation with the analyst. In doing this, 
says Triib, the analyst must avoid the intimacy of a private I-Thou 
relationship with the patient, on the one hand, and the temptation of 
dealing with the patient as an object, on the other.- This means, in 
effect, that he must have just that dialogical relationship of concrete 
but one-sided inclusion which Buber has designated as that proper for 
the teacher.^ It cannot become the mutual inclusion of friendship with- 
out destroying the therapeutic possibilities of the relationship. But 
neither can it make the patient into an It. The analyst must be able to 
risk himself and to participate in the process of individuation.* 

The analyst must see the illness of the patient as an illness of his 
relations with the world, writes Triib. The roots of the neurosis lie both 
in the patient's closing himself off from the world and in the pattern of 
society itself and its rejection and non-confirmation of the patient. 
Consequently, the analyst must change at some point from the consoler 
who takes the part of the patient against the world to the person who 
puts before the patient the claim of the world. This change is necessar>' 
to complete the second part of the cure— that establishment of real 
relationship with the world which can only take place in the world itself. 
'On the analyst falls the task of preparing the way for the resumption 
in direct meeting of the interrupted dialogical relationship between the 
individual and the community.' The psychotherapist must test the 
patient's finding of himself by the criterion of whether his self-realization 
can be the starting-point for a new personal meeting with the world. 
The patient must go forth whole in himself, but he must also recognize 

1 The Way of Man, pp. 14, 36; Buber, 'Heilimg aus der Begegnung,' op. cit. 

2 Triib, 'Individuation, Schuld und Entscheidung,' p. 533 f.; Hans Triib, 'Vom 
Selbst zur Welt,' Psyche I (1947), 41-45. 

3 Between Man and Man, 'Education,' pp. 97-101. 
* Triib, 'Vom Selbst zur Welt,' p. 55 f. 


that it is not his own self but the world with which he must be con- 
cerned. This does not mean, however, that the patient is simply inte- 
grated with or adjusted to the world. He does not cease to be a real 
person, responsible for himself, but at the same time he enters into 
responsible relationship with his community. ^ 

'This way of frightened pause, of unfrightened deliberation, of 
personal participation, of rejection of security, of unsparing stepping 
into relationship, of the bursting of psychologism — this way of vision 
and of risk is that which Hans Triib went,' writes Buber. 'Surely other 
psychotherapists will find the trail that Triib broke and carry it still 
further.' ^ 

^ Ibid., pp. 48-67, quotation from p. 44 (my translation). 

- Buber, 'Heilung aus der Begegnung,' op. cit. 

SUPPLEMENTARY NOTE (1959): 'Hcilung aus der Begegnung' now appears in 
English translation in Pointing the Way, 'Healing through Meeting,' pp. 93-97. 
In 'Guilt and Guilt Feelings,' trans, by Maurice Friedman, Psychiatry, Vol. XX, 
No. 2 (May 1957), pp. 114-129, Buber distinguishes between 'groundless' 
neurotic guilt and 'existential guilt.' 'Existential guilt occurs when someone 
injures an order of the human world whose foundations he knows and recog- 
nizes as those of his own existence and of all common human existence.' In 
a chapter in his forthcoming philosophical anthropology Prof. Buber sets forth 
a theory of the unconscious as existing prior to the split between the physical 
and the psychic and therefore as not identifiable with the psyche. In his impor- 
tant Postscript to the second edition of / and Thou Buber stresses the need of a 
one-sided 'inclusion' in the relationship between therapist and patient which is, 
nonetheless, an I-Thou relation founded on mutuality, trust, and partnership 
in a common situation. 

Carl Jung in The Undiscovered Self (Boston: Little, Brown, 1958) em- 
phasizes the psychotherapist's concern with the particular, unique individual 
before him and his concrete problems. 'Today, over the whole field of medicine, 
it is recognized that the task of the doctor consists in treating the sick patient, 
not an abstract illness.' (p. 12) A large sample of Ludwig Binswanger's thought 
is now available in English in Rollo May, Ernest Angel, Henri F. Ellenberger, 
editors. Existence, A New Dimension in Psychiatry and Psychology (New 
York: Basic Books, 1958), Chaps. VII-IX, pp. 191-364. (Cf. also pp. 80-86, 
119-124.) One may question whether by adding the I-Thou relation as one 
further existential category to those Heidegger has provided us, Binswanger 
has succeeded in the synthesis of Heidegger's ontology and Buber's dialogue 
that forms the core of his existential analysis. (Cf. my article, 'Shame, Existen- 
tial Psychotherapy, and the Image of Man,' Commentary, fall or winter 1959.) 
Carl R. Rogers's essay, 'Persons or Science? A Philosophic Question,' appears in 
American Psychologist, X (1955), pp. 267-278. The differences between Rogers 
and Buber became particularly clear in a dialogue that I moderated between 
them at the University of Michigan on April 18, 1957. Rogers emphasizes 
subjective becoming, Buber the 'between.' Rogers emphasizes unqualified ac- 
ceptance of the client by the therapist whereas Buber emphasizes a confirmation 
which begins with acceptance but goes on to helping the other in the struggle 
against himself for the sake of what he is meant to become. (Cf. Rogers's 
articles on 'Becoming a Person' in Pastoral Psychology, Vol. VII, January and 
February 1956). Cf. items by Farber & Friedman in supplementary biblio- 



BUBER defines the ethical as the affirmation or denial of the 
conduct and actions possible to one *not according to their use 
or harmfulness for individuals and society, but according to their 
intrinsic value and disvalue.' 

We find the ethical in its purity only there where the human 
person confronts himself with his own potentiality and distin- 
guishes and decides in this confrontation without asking anything 
other than what is right and what is wrong in this his own situation. 
. . . One may call the distinction and decision which rises from these 
depths the action of the preconscience. 

He goes on to explain that the criterion by which the distinction and 
decision are made may be a traditional one or one perceived by the 
individual himself. What really matters 'is that the critical flame shoots 
up ever again out of the depths' and the truest source for this critical 
flame is 'the individual's awareness of what he "really" is, of what in 
his unique and nonrepeatable created existence he is intended to be.' ^ 
It is clear that one foundation of Buber's definition of ethics is his 
philosophy of dialogue with its emphasis on wholeness, decision, 
presentness, and uniqueness. Another is his philosophical anthropology 
with its emphasis on the potentiality which only man has and on the 
direction which each man must take to become what only he can be- 
come. It might seem, however, that this emphasis on an inner awareness 
which gives one the power of distinguishing and deciding between right 
and wrong is a type of moral autonomy which contradicts the dialogical 
nature of the rest of Buber's philosophy. Buber makes it clear, however, 
that he is talking about neither *moral autonomy' nor *moral hetero- 
nomy,' neither self-created morality nor morality imposed from 
without.2 Pure moral autonomy is a freedom that is simply 'freedom 
from' without any 'freedom for.' Pure moral heteronomy is a 'respon- 

1 Eclipse of God, op. cit., p. 125 f. « Ibid., p. 129 f. 


sibility' that is simply imposed moral duty without any genuine freedom 
or spontaneity. The narrow ridge between the two is a freedom that 
means freedom to respond, and a responsibility that means both address 
from without and free response from within. 

Thorough-going moral autonomy destroys all concept of morality 
because it destroys all notion of value. Buber criticizes, for this reason, 
Sartre's definition of value as the meaning of life which the individual 

One can believe in and accept a meaning or value ... if one has 
discovered it, not if one has invented it. It can be for me an illumin- 
ating meaning, a direction-giving value, only if it has been revealed 
to me in my meeting with being, not if I have freely chosen it for 
myself from among the existing possibilities and perhaps have in 
addition decided with a few fellow creatures: This shall be valid 
from now on.^ 

Kant's *moral autonomy' is not thorough-going in this same sense, for 
its self-legislation does not refer to the self as the final judge of value 
but rather to universal reason and to the kingdom of ends to which one 
belongs by virtue of being a rational being. 

Looking back now on all previous attempts to discover the 
principle of morality, we need not wonder why they all failed. It 
was seen that man was bound to laws by duty, but it was not 
observed that the laws to which he is subject are only those of his 
own giving, though at the same time they are universal, and that he 
is only bound to act in conformity with his own will — a will, how- 
ever, which is designed by nature to give universal laws. ... I will 
therefore call this the principle of Autonomy of the will, in contrast 
with every other which I accordingly reckon as Heteronomy.^ 

Kant's categorical imperatives, *Act always on such a maxim as thou 
canst at the same time will to be a universal law' and *So act as to treat 
humanity, whether in thine own person or in that of any other, in every 
case as an end withal, never as means only,' are actually in one sense 
imposed from without. In order to follow Kant one must suppress one's 
existential subjectivity in favour of a rational objectivity in which one 
participates only by virtue of having previously defined the essence of 
value as one's rational nature. It is, in fact, a clear example of the 
*objective' masquerading as the *subjective,' and nothing makes this 
clearer than Kant's suspicion of all empirical actions as probably in fact 

^ Ibid., 'Religion and Modem Thinking,' p. 93. 

» Immanuel Kant, Fundamental Principles of the Metaphysic of Morals, trans, by 
Thomas K. Abbott, with an Introduction by Marvin Fox (New York: The Liberal 
Arts Press, 1949), p. 49 f. 


Between Man and Man 

tainted by some non-moral motive. Nothing is good for Kant except 
a *good will,' nor does he ever seriously envisage the possibility of 
turning to the good with the *evil impulse* in such a way as to unify 
impulse and will.^ It is just such a split as this that Buber avoids, and 
it is for this reason that he can speak of *intrinsic value and disvalue' 
in a more genuine sense than either Kant or Sartre. 

Buber's concept of the responsibility of an I to a Thou is closely 
similar to Kant's second formulation of the categorical imperative: 
Never treat one's fellow as a means only but always also as an end of 
value in himself. But even here, where Kant's and Buber's ethics seem 
to join, there is an essential difference. Kant's sentence grows out of an 
*ought' based on the idea of human dignity. Buber's related concepts 
of making the other present and not imposing one's own truth on him 
are based on the ontological reality of the life between man and man.^ 
To Kant the respect for the dignity of others grows out of one's own 
dignity as a rational being bound to act according to universal laws. 
For Buber the concern for the other as an end in himself grows out of 
one's direct relation to this other and to that higher end which he serves 
through the fulfilment of his created uniqueness. Thus Kant's imperative 
is essentially subjective (the isolated individual) and objective (universal 
reason) whereas Buber's is dialogical. In Kant the 'ought' of reason is 
separated from the 'is' of impulse. In Buber 'is' and 'ought' join without 
losing their tension in the precondition of authentic human existence — 
making real the life between man and man. 

The dominant ethical debate in our age, that between moral absolut- 
ism and moral relativism, is carried on exclusively in terms of the 
subject-object relationship. The 'objectivists' posit the absolute nature 
of values and tend to ignore the fact that a value is always a value for a 
person rather than something with an absolute, independent existence. 
They speak, like Wolfgang Kohler, of the 'objective requiredness' of 
values, and, like Eliseo Vivas, they describe the relation to these values 
as the relation of a subject to an independent object to which man 
simply responds.^ Wishing to rescue ethics from the identification of the 
'ought' and the 'is' which is characteristic of the interest theories of 
ethics and of cultural relativism, objectivists tend to fall into a dualism 

^ Immanuel Kant, Fundamental Principles^ of the Metaphysic of Morals, trans, by 
Thomas K. Abbott, with an Introduction by Marvin Fox (New York : The Liberal 
Arts Press, 1949), pp. 11, 16-25, 31, 38, 45 f. 'The inclinations themselves, being 
sources of want, are so far from having an absolute worth for which they should 
be desired that, on the contrary, it must be the universal wish of every rational 
being to be wholly free from them' (p. 45). 

^ Buber, 'Elemente des Zwischenmenschhchen,' op. cit., section 4. 

^ Wolfgang Kohler, TTie Place of Values in a World of Facts (New York : Liveright 
Publishing Corp., 1938); Vivas, The Moral Life and the Ethical Life, op. cit., pp. 187, 
190, 215-219, 237-246. 


which radically sunders man's nature and his moral norms. Vivas, for 
example, posits the 'objectivity of evil' as the only alternative to its 
being merely subjective and defines morality in terms of the opposition 
between objective duty and subjective inclination: 

The search for the right alternative forces on one a distinction 
between obedience to something objective and obedience to what 
one desires, obedience to self. . . . The ideal, of course, of moral 
education is that the distinction be totally erased. But only a weak, 
sentimental, shallow, Pelagian attitude toward human nature would 
conceive of the ideal as within the reach of men. The City of God 
is not the City of Man ; man cannot hope to rear a perfect city. 
Normally, therefore, the distinction between what we desire and 
what is right is very sharp, and the two terms of the distinction are 
apprehended as more or less exclusive.^ 

The 'subjectivists,' on the other hand, reduce all value to the subjec- 
tive interest of individuals or cultural groups. This type of objective 
description of subjective phenomena tends to make the *is' equal to the 
*ought' : it implies that one 'ought' to accept the values of his cultural 
group just because they are those values, or that one 'ought' to follow 
subjective interest just because one has this interest. This subjective- 
objective confusion destroys the essence of moral philosophy because it 
cannot in fact establish any distinction between sheer objective descrip- 
tion of what takes place and the discovery of the 'normative,' that is, of 
the values which determine what man ought to do.^ 

The fact that different groups have different values is usually 
immensely oversimplified in popular thought. 'Groups' are regarded as 
static, distinct, and homogeneous units rather than as dynamic and 
interacting ones. The individuals in these groups, moreover, are 
regarded as cells of an organic whole rather than as persons interacting 
with each other in relations some of which are of a more and some of a 
less determined nature. As a result, the cultural relativist tends to lose 
sight of his concrete existence in the overwhelming preponderance of 
the collectivity. Insecure as an individual, he tends to project his for- 
gotten T on the group and to absolutize the group and its values. 

Here we see the clear path that is taken in our day from the denial 
of all values to their false absolutization. It is no accident, in my 
opinion, that the most important historical application of Nietzsche's 
philosophy of the superman was not in the direction of individualism 
but of collectivism. Both nihilism and cultural relativism leave the 
individual apparently free to do as he pleases without referring to moral 
values but actually in terrible insecurity until he can find something 

^ Vivas, 77?^ Moral Life, p. 239. 

^ Cf. Ibid., Part I— 'Animadversions upon Naturalistic Moral Philosophies.' 


Between Man and Man 

more than himself that is of value. The superman and totalitarianism 
offer this something more than oneself, and both are characterized by 
the fact that they do in fact remove all intrinsic value from the individual 
and make him simply a means to a greater goal in which he can sym- 
biotically participate. Hence, both in the end mean the denial of free- 
dom, personal integrity, and personal responsibility in the name of a 
value which turns out to be more tyrannically absolute than any that 
preceded it. 

Thus whether the I or the It, the subjective or the objective is stressed, 
the failure to see moral problems in terms of the relation of I and Thou 
ends in the submission of the I to the world of It. Buber, through his 
dialogical philosophy, avoids not only the 'objectivism' of the moral 
absolutists but also the 'subjectivism' of the cultural relativists. If values 
do not exist for him apart from persons, neither can they be reduced to 
subjective feeling or 'interest.' The value lies in the between — in the 
relation of the I to a Thou which is not an It yet is really other than 
the I. 

Here we find the crucial distinction between Buber's dialogical philo- 
sophy and pragmatism, which resembles it in a number of other ways. 
As Paul Pfeutze has pointed out, both the dialogical philosophy and 
pragmatism emphasize the concrete and the dynamic, both reject 
starting with metaphysical abstractions in favour of starting with human 
experience, both insist upon 'the unity of theory and practice, inner idea 
and outer deed,' and both insist on the element of faith and venture.^ 
Despite these resemblances, the ethics of pragmatism differs from that 
of Buber's dialogical philosophy in two central points. First, prag- 
matism is entirely based upon the subject-object relationship, and this 
means that, contrary to its claims, it is actually given over to the 
abstract and static world of the past rather than the concrete and 
dynamic present. This is shown clearly in the appeal to scientific 
empiricism as the test of values rather than to the direct and concrete 
experience of the I-Thou relation. Second, pragmatism, like all interest 
theories of ethics, has no way of escaping the subjectivism which 
grounds all value ultimately on subjective feeling, nor is this any less 
the case because of the objective methods that pragmatism supports 

1 Paul E. Pfuetze, The Social Self (in the thought of George Herbert Mead and 
Martin Buber), New York: Bookman Associates, 1954, pp. 274, 295 n. 131. 
William James writes in 'The Will to Believe': 'The more perfect and more eternal 
aspect of the universe is represented in our religions as having personal form. The 
universe is no longer a mere It to us, but a Thou, if we are religious; and any 
relation that may be possible from person to person might be possible here. . . . 
We feel, too, as if the appeal of religion to us were made to our own active good- 
will, as if evidence might be forever withheld from us unless we met the hypothesis 
half-way.' William James, Essays in Pragmatism, ed. by Alburey Castell (New York: 
Hafner Publishing Co., 1949), p. 106 f. 



for the judgment of whether our actions will in fact produce the values 
that we think they will.^ 

It is the domination of subjective-objective thinking that has produced 
the traditional but false dichotomy between 'selfishness' and 'unselfish- 
ness/ egoism and altruism. There can be no such thing as pure 'selfish- 
ness since no self originates or exists in isolation from others and even 
the most subjective interest is still of a social nature. On the other 
hand, since in every action we enter into relations with others which 
involve both ourselves and them, there can be no such thing as pure 
'unselfishness. Karl Lowith suggests that the real meaning of egoism 
versus altruism is the question of whether we relate to others for our 
sakes or for theirs. The situation is better described, in my opinion, by 
Erich Fromm's suggestion that true love of others does not mean denial 
of self nor true self-love denial of love for others.^ 

One cannot divide up a relationship into two separate parts one of 
which is 'mine' and one of which is 'thine' and then choose between 
them. One can only choose by one's actions and attitudes to move in 
the direction of relationship and reciprocity — I-Thou — or separateness 
and mutual exploitation — I-It. One's giving to the other may indeed 
be at the expense of something that one wants and needs oneself for the 
best of reasons. But this does not mean that one is sacrificing one's self 
in the giving. One is rather affirming one's self through a response that 
takes one out of the realm of domination and enjoyment into the realm 
of real personal existence. Up to a certain point, this applies even in a 
relationship in which the other person treats one strictly as It, for the 
other must be a Thou for us unconditionally and not dependent on how 
he treats us. No I-Thou relationship can be complete without reci- 
procity, however, and our ability to treat the other person as Thou is, 
in fact, limited by the extent to which he does or does not treat us as a 
Thou. True giving is giving in relationship, whether it be the gift of 
material support or the gift of a caress or a word. It is only possible to 
give in a very limited degree to one who remains resolutely closed to 

Buber's philosophy of dialogue not only finds the narrow ridge 
between the subjectivist identification and the objectivist sundering of 
the 'is' and the 'ought,' but it also radically shifts the whole ground of 
ethical discussion by moving from the universal to the concrete and 

1 Cf. Marvin Fox, 'Discussion on the Diversity of Methods in Dewey's Ethics 
Theory,' Philosophy and Phenomenological Research, Vol. XII, No. 1 (September 
1951), pp. 123-129. 

2 Lowith, Das Individuum in der Rolle des Mitmenschen, op. cit., pp. 71-76; 
Fromm, Man for Himself, op. cit., pp. 119-141. On the implications of dialogue for 
egoism and altruism cf. also Karl Earth, Die kirchliche Dogmatik, Vol. Ill— Die 
Lehre von der Schopfung, Zweiter Teil (Part 2 of third volume published separately) 
(Zurich: Evangelischer Verlag, A. G. Zollikon, 1948), p. 312 fF. 


Between Man and Man 

from the past to the present — in other words, from I-It to I-Thou. 
Buber does not start from some external, absolutely valid ethical code 
which man is bound to apply as best as possible to each new situation. 
Instead he starts with the situation itself. 

The idea of responsibility is to be brought back from the province 
of specialized ethics, of an 'ought' that swings free in the air, into 
that of lived life. Genuine responsibility exists only where there is 
real responding.^ 
Most of the traditional ethical values — not killing, stealing, committing 
adultery, lying, cheating, and so forth — are in fact implied in the I-Thou 
relation, but not as an absolute code. Rather these traditional ethical 
values must be understood as the symbolic expression of what takes 
place when people stand in true dialogical relation to each other. It is 
unlikely in most cases, for example, that one could truly express one's 
responsibility to a Thou by killing him. The traditional values are useful 
and suggestive, but one may not for all that proceed from them to the 
situation. Rather one must move from the concrete situation to the 
decision as to what is the right direction in this instance. 

No responsible person remains a stranger to norms. But the 
command inherent in a genuine norm never becomes a maxim and 
the fulfilment of it never a habit. Any command that a great 
character takes to himself in the course of his development does 
not act in him as part of his consciousness or as material for build- 
ing up his exercises, but remains latent in a basic layer of his sub- 
stance until it reveals itself to him in a concrete way. What it has 
to tell him is revealed whenever a situation arises which demands 
of him a solution of which till then he had perhaps no idea. Even 
the most universal norm will at times be recognized only in a very 
special situation. . . . There is a direction, a 'yes,' a command, 
hidden even in a prohibition, which is revealed to us in moments 
like these. In moments like these the command addresses us really 
in the second person, and the Thou in it is no one else but one's 
own self. Maxims conmiand only the third person, the each and 
the none.2 

The responsible quaUty of one's decision will be determined by the 
degree to which one really 'sees the other' and makes him present to 
one. It is here, in experiencing the relationship from the side of the 
other, that we find the most important key to the ethical implications 
of Buber's dialogue — an implication that none of the other thinkers who 
have written on the I-Thou relationship has understood in its full 
significance. Only through 'seeing the other' can the I-Thou relationship 

^ Between Man and Man, 'Dialogue,' p. 16. 
2 Ibid., The Education of Character,' p. 114. 


become fully real, for only through it can one be sure that one is really 
helping the other person. To deal lovingly with thy neighbour means 
to recognize that he is not just another I but a Thou, and that means a 
really * other' person. Only if we see a man in his concrete otherness is 
there any possibility of our confirming him in his individuality as that 
which he must become. *Seeing the other' is for this reason of central 
significance, not only for ethical action, but for love, friendship, 
teaching, and psychotherapy. 

To see through the eyes of the other does not mean, as we have seen, 
that one ceases to see through one's own. The Thou Reaches you to 
meet others,' but it also teaches you *to hold your ground when you 
meet them.' ^ Ethical action is not altruism and self-denial. Nor is it an 
impartial objectivity which adjudicates conflicting interests as if from 
the standpoint of a third person. It is the binding of decision and action 
in the relation of I and Thou. The best example of what this means in 
practice is Buber's reply to a public statement of Gandhi about Zionism 
and the Nazi persecution of the Jews. Gandhi, in December 1938, 
suggested that the Jews in Germany use satyagraha, or soul-force, as 
the most effective reply to Nazi atrocities. The Jews, said Gandhi, 
should refuse to be expelled or submit to discriminating treatment but 
should, if necessary, accept death voluntarily. 'If the Jewish mind could 
be prepared for voluntary suffering, even a massacre could be turned 
into a day of thanksgiving and joy that Jehovah had wrought deliver- 
ance of the race even at the hands of the tyrant. For to the God-fearing, 
death has no terror.' In his reply Buber pointed out that Gandhi both 
misunderstood the nature of the Nazi regime and ignored the impor- 
tance of the existence of India in his own successful work with the 
Hindus of South Africa. 

No Jew in Germany could have spoken as did Gandhi in South 
Africa without being killed immediately ... the martyrdom to 
which German Jews were subjected in concentration camps and 
dungeon-cells had no witnesses and, being unnoticed and un- 
known, could not affect public opinion or modify public policy. 
Gandhi, as the leader of 150,000 Hindus in South Africa, knew 
that Mother India with its hundreds of millions would ultimately 
stand in back of him. This knowledge . . . gave him and his 
followers the courage to live, to suffer, to resist, and to fight 
stubbornly— though non-violently— for their rights.^ 

What Buber was essentially pointing out to Gandhi was that each one 
must have his own ground in order to deal justly with the other, that 

^ / and Thou, p. 33. 

2 Quoted in Solomon Liptzin, Germany s Stepchildren (Philadelphia: The Jewish 
PubUcation Society, 1944), pp. 264-267. 


Between Man and Man 
pure spirituality divorced from the concrete is futile and ineffective: 
* Would the Mahatma,* he wrote, *who advises the Jews that Palestine 
is not a geographic district but an ideal within their hearts, accept the 
doctrine that India was not a subcontinent but merely an ideal wholly 
divorced from any soil? Is it not rather an ideal because it exists in 
reaUty?' ^ The Jews cannot be responsible without experiencing from 
the side of the Arabs what it means for the Jews to have settled in 
Palestine, but neither can they give up their own claim. 

We considered it a fundamental point that in this case two vital 
claims are opposed to each other, two claims of a different nature 
and a different origin which cannot objectively be pitted against 
one another and between which no objective decision can be made 
as to which is just, which unjust. We . . . consider it our duty to 
understand and to honour the claim which is opposed to ours and 
to endeavour to reconcile both claims. . . . Where there is faith 
and love, a solution may be found even to what appears to be a 
tragic opposition.^ 

One can only be *responsible' if one is responsible to someone. Since 
the human Thou must constantly become an It, one is ultimately 
responsible to the Eternal Thou who never becomes an It. But it is just 
in the concrete that we meet the Eternal Thou, and it is this which 
prevents dialogue from degenerating into 'responsibility' to an abstract 
moral code or universal idea. The choice, therefore, is not between 
reHgion and morality but between a religion and morality wedded to 
the universal and a religion and morality wedded to the concrete. 

Only out of a personal relationship with the Absolute can the 
absoluteness of the ethical co-ordinates arise without which there 
is no complete awareness of self. Even when the individual calls 
an absolute criterion handed down by religious tradition his own, 
it must be reforged in the fire of the truth of his personal essential 
relation to the Absolute if it is to win true validity. But always it is 
the religious which bestows, the ethical which receives.^ 

The reason why it is always the religious which bestows and the 
ethical which receives is to be found in the nature of good as Buber 
understands it. The good for Buber is not an objective state of affairs 
nor an inner feeling, but a type of relationship — the dialogue between 

^ Quoted in Solomon Liptzin, Germany s Stepchildren (Philadelphia: The Jewish 
Publication Society, 1944), p. 267 f. 

* Israel and the World, op. cit., 'The Land and Its Possessors' (from an open 
letter to Gandhi, 1939), p. 231 f. For the complete text of Gandhi's statement and 
of Buber's reply to Gandhi see Martin Buber and Judah Magnes, Two Letters to 
Gandhi (Jerusalem: Reuben Mass, 1939), pp. 39-44 and 5-21 respectively. 

» Eclipse of God, 'Religion and Ethics,' p. 129. 



man and mkn and between man and God. This means that the good 
cannot be referred back to any Platonic universals or impersonal order 
of the cosmos, nor can it be founded in any general system of utility or 
justice. It grows instead out of that which is most particular and 
concrete, not the pseudo-concreteness of the 'empirically verifiable* but 
the actual present concreteness of the unique direction toward God 
which one apprehends and realizes in the meeting with the everyday. 

Good conceived thus cannot be located within any system of 
ethical co-ordination, for all those we know came into being on its 
account and existed or exist by virtue of it. Every ethos has its 
origin in a revelation, whether or not it is still aware of and 
obedient to it; and every revelation is revelation of human service 
to the goal of creation, in which service man authenticates himself.^ 

^Images of Good and Evil, p. 83. For a further study of Ruber's ethics and 
its relation to his philosophical anthropology and his philosophy of religion and 
the problems of the person and trust, cf . my essay 'The Bases of Buber's Values' 
in Friedman and Schilpp, eds., The Philosophy of Martin Buber, loc. cit. 





MODERN man is insecure and repressed — isolated from his 
fellows yet desperately clinging to the collectivity which he trusts 
to protect him from the might of other collectivities. Divided 
within himself into instincts and spirit, repressions and sublimations, 
he finds himself incapable of direct relation with his fellows either as 
individuals in the body-politic or as fellow members of a community. 
The tremendous collective power with which he allies himself gives him 
neither relationship nor freedom from fear but makes his life a sterile 
alternation between universal war and armed peace. The modern crisis 
is thus a crisis both of the individual and of society at large. 

Though many social reformers of the last century have recognized 
the double character of this crisis, few of them have really faced the 
problem in both of its aspects. Some have argued that it is necessary to 
change society first and that this change will in itself produce a change 
in the individual. Others have said that we must start with the individual 
and that change in individuals will inevitably result in changed social 
relationships and a new pattern of society. Martin Buber has refused 
to fall into this dilemma as he has refused the either-or of individuahsm 
and collectivism. In both cases he has resolved the tension between the 
two poles through a creative third alternative — the relation between 
man and man. This relation takes place not only in the I-Thou of direct 
meeting but also in the We of community. Similarly, it must be based 
not only on the personal wholeness of the individual but also on a 
social restructuring of society. Relation is the true starting-point for 
personal integration and wholeness and for the transformation of 
society, and these in turn make possible ever greater relation. 

Both moral and social philosophy are basically determined by 
whether one believes the individual, the organic group, or the dialogue 
between man and man to be of basic reality and value. For the radical 
individualist, both interpersonal relations and society can be nothing 
but the sum of separate individuals. For those who make society the 


Social Philosophy 
basic reality, on the other hand, the individual is only a derivative 
reality and value. For these latter, also, the relations between individuals 
are essentially indirect, mediated through their common relationship to 
society. For the dialogical philosopher, however, both the individual 
and society exist as reality and value but they are derived from the basic 
reality of the meeting between man and man. Thus for him the 'indivi- 
dual' and 'society' are abstractions which must not be taken for reality 

The individual is a fact of existence in so far as he steps into a 
living relation with other individuals. The aggregate is a fact of 
existence in so far as it is built up of living units of relation.^ 

Buber designates a category of 'the essential We' to correspond on 
the level of the relation to a host of men to the 'essential Thou on the 
level of self-being.' As the primitive Thou precedes the consciousness of 
individual separateness whereas the essential Thou follows and grows 
out of this consciousness, so the primitive We precedes true indivi- 
duality and independence whereas the essential We only comes about 
when independent people have come together in essential relation and 
directness. The essential We includes the Thou potentially, for 'only men 
who are capable of truly saying Thou to one another can truly say We 
with one another.' Through this essential We and only through it can 
man escape from the impersonal 'one' of the nameless, faceless crowd. 
'A man is truly saved from the "one" not by separation but only by 
being bound up in genuine communion.' - 

There is, of course, a reality of society which is something more than 
a complex pattern of dialogical relationships. Buber himself warns 
against blurring the distinction between the 'social' in general and the 
togetherness of true dialogue. In 1905 Buber used the term 'das 
Zwischenmenschliche' (a now familiar expression which he was the 
first to employ) as the social-psychological in general, 'the life of men 
together in all its forms and actions,' 'the social seen as a psychological 
process.' Half a century later he restricted the use of the term to that 
in human life which provides the basis for direct dialogical relations. 
In distinction to it he now set the sphere of the 'social' in which many 
individual existences are bound into a group with common experiences 
and reactions but without any personal relation necessarily existing 
between one person and another within the group. There are contacts, 
especially within the life of smaller groups, which frequently favour 
personal relationships, and not seldom, also, make them more difficult. 
But in no case does membership in the group already involve an essen- 
tial relation between one member and another. What is more, the 
direction of groups in general, at least in the later periods of human 

1 Between Man and Man, 'What Is Man?', p. 202 f. ' Ibid., p. 175 ff. 


Between Man and Man 

history, has been toward the suppression of the elements of personal 
relation in favour of the elements of pure collectivity.^ 

The structure of modern society makes true dialogue difficult, and 
the tremendous force of social and psychological conditioning often 
brings society close to that deterministic and organic social structure 
that many accept as reality. But it is precisely here that the ethical 
question enters in most forcefully. If the basic reality and value is the 
organic group, then there is nothing to be done about this condition, 
and what is is what ought to be. If, on the other hand, the basic reality 
and value is the concrete dialogical relations between men, then there is 
a vital necessity for a restructuring of society that will enable the rela- 
tions between men to be of a more genuinely dialogical nature. For this 
reason Buber has called for a socialist restructuring of society into a 
community of communities, and for this reason also he has stressed the 
danger of the confusion between the 'social' and the 'political' principles 
and the need for transforming the political, in so far as possible, into 
the social sphere. 


The 'social principle,' for Buber, means the dialogical while the 
'political' means the necessary and ordered realm of the world of It. 
The former means free fellowship and association, the latter compulsion 
and domination.^ A social restructuring of society is necessary, in 
Buber's opinion, because capitalism is inherently poor in organic com- 
munity and is becoming poorer every day. Marxist socialism cannot 
remedy this poverty of structure because its means — unity and central- 
ization — are entirely unlike and cannot possibly lead to its ultimate 
ends — multiplicity and freedom. Both the Marxist movement and the 
Soviet regime have constantly subordinated the evolution of a new 
social form to political action. They have oscillated in practice between 
radical centralization and tolerance of relative decentralization (in the 
form of producer Soviets and compulsory co-operatives when these 
served a political purpose), but they have never put the social principle 
above the political nor attempted to realize Marx's dictum that the new 
society will be gestated in the womb of the old. True socialism, in 
contrast, summons the reality of community from out of the depths of 
a people where it lies hidden and undeveloped underneath the incrusta- 

^ Introduction by Martin Buber to the first edition of Werner Sombart's Das 
Proletariat (Frankfurt am Main: Riitten & Loening, 1906), the first volume of 
Die Gesellschaft, a collection of forty social-psychological monographs edited 
by Martin Buber from 1906 to 1912. Quoted in Kohn, Martin Buber, op. cit., 
pp. 310-313 (Footnote 2 to p. 89); 'Elements of the Interhuman,' op. cit., sec- 
tion 1, The Social and the Interhuman.' 

^Martin Buber, 'Society and the State,' World Review, May 1951, New Series 
27, p. 5. 


Social Philosophy 
tions of the state. Communal living grows most easily out of closeness 
of people in mode of life, language, tradition, and common memories. 
There is, for this reason, a legitimate connection between the nation and 
socialism which supports rather than obstructs the international 
character of socialism as a force for world unity and peace. Socialism 
based on the political principle starts from the top with an abstract and 
uniform political order. Socialism based on the social principle starts 
at the bottom and discovers those elements of genuine community 
which are capable of development. 'True socialism is real community 
between men, direct life-relations between I and Thou, just society and 
fellowship.' ^ 

The social restructuring of society cannot take place as a result of 
the blind working of economic forces or success in production. It 
demands a consciousness and will — setting a goal and dem.anding extra- 
ordinary efforts in order to reach that goal. This goal is based on the 
longing for 'rightness'— the vision of perfection that in religious expecta- 
tion takes the form of Messianism — perfection in time — and in social 
expectation the form of Utopia — perfection in space. The Utopian 
systems that grow out of this longing for social rightness are by no 
means essentially the same, for they tend to two opposite forms. One is 
*schematic fiction' which starts from a theory of the nature of man and 
deduces a social order which shall employ all man's capacities and 
satisfy all his needs. The other undertakes to transform contemporary 
man and his conditions on the basis of an impartial and undogmatic 
understanding of both. This latter form is aware of the diversity and 
contrariety of the trends of the age and tries to discover which of these 
trends are aiming at an order in which the contradictions of existing 
society will truly be overcome. ^ 

This latter, according to Buber, is genuine 'Utopian' socialism. If it 
does not expect blind providence to save man through technical and 
material change, neither does it trust to a 'free-ranging human intellect 
which contrives systems of absolute validity.' True community can only 
be built if it satisfies a situation and not an abstraction. For this reason 
the movement to community must be 'topical,' that is, growing out of 
the needs of a given situation and realizing itself to the greatest possible 
degree here and now. At the same time this local and topical realization 
must be nothing but a point of departure for the larger goal of organic 
cells unified in a restructured society.^ 

The reconstruction of society can only begin, writes Buber, with *a 
radical alteration of the relationship between the social and the political 

1 Paths in Utopia, op. cit., pp. 13 f., 48 f., 56, 98 f., 118, 124 f.; Kampfum Israel, 
op. cit., p. 291. 

2 Paths in Utopia, pp. 11 f., 26, 58 f. 
» Ibid., pp. 26, 81, 134. 


Between Man and Man 

order.' The state must cease to be a machina machinarum which 
'strangles the individuality of small associations' and must become 
instead a communitas communitatum — a union of communities within 
which the proper autonomous life of each community can unfold. In 
this latter form of state the compulsive order that persisted would not 
be based on the exploitation of human conflicts but would represent 
the stage of development which had been reached. There is a degree 
of legitimate compulsion, writes Buber, and this is determined by the 
degree of incapacity for voluntary right order. In practice, however, the 
state always greatly exceeds this degree of legitimate compulsion 
because accumulated power does not abdicate except under necessity. 
Only the vigorous pressure of those groups that have increased their 
capacity for voluntary order can force the state to relinquish some 
measure of its power.^ 

The essential point is to decide on the fundamentals : a restruc- 
turing of society as a League of Leagues, and a reduction of the 
State to its proper function, which is to maintain unity; or a 
devouring of an amorphous society by the omnipotent State. . . . 
The right proportion, tested anew every day according to changing 
conditions, between group-freedom and collective order; or 
absolute order imposed indefinitely for the sake of an era of free- 
dom alleged to follow *of its own accord.' ^ 

The essential thing which enabled man to emerge from Nature and 
to assert himself, writes Buber, is, more than his technical efficiency, the 
fact that he banded together with others in a social life which was at 
once mutually dependent and independent. The line of human progress 
up till now has been 'the forming and re-forming of communities on the 
basis of growing personal independence' — 'functional autonomy, 
mutual recognition and mutual responsibility.' Buber calls this mutual 
dependence of increasingly free and independent individuals the 'de- 
centralistic social principle.' This principle has been subordinated in the 
modern world to the 'centralistic political principle,' and modern indus- 
trial development and economy have aided this process through creating 
a struggle of all against all for markets and raw materials. Struggles 
between whole societies have replaced the old struggles between States. 
The resulting emphasis on the organization of power has caused demo- 
cratic forms of society no less than totalitarian forms to make complete 
submission to centralized power their guiding principle.^ 

'The social vitality of a nation,' writes Buber, 'and its cultural unity 
and independence as well, depend very largely upon the degree of social 
spontaneity to be found there.' This social spontaneity is continually 
threatened and diminished by the fact that the political principle is 

^ Paths in Utopia, pp. 27, 39 f., 47. ^ Ibid., p. 148. ^ /^^^^ pp 129-132. 


Social Philosophy 
always stronger in relation to the social principle than the given condi- 
tions require.^ This difference between the strength of the political and 
the social principles is called the *political surplus* by Buber and is 
explained in terms of the difference in nature between 'Administration* 
and 'Government.' 

By Administration we mean a capacity for making dispositions 
which is limited by the available technical facilities and recognized 
in theory and practice within those limits; when it oversteps its 
limits, it seals its own doom. By Government we understand a non- 
technical, but 'constitutionally* limited body; this signifies that, in 
the event of certain changes in the situation, the limits are extended 
and even, at times, wiped out altogether.^ 

The excess in the capacity for making dispositions beyond that required 
by given conditions is what we understand by political power, and the 
measure of this excess, the 'political surplus,* represents the difference 
between Administration and Government. This political surplus cannot 
be determined exactly, nor can it be done away with entirely, for it 
depends upon the latent state of crisis between nations and within every 
nation. As long as this latent crisis exists, the state must have that excess 
of decision which will make possible special powers in the event that the 
crisis becomes active. Nevertheless, even in this situation a movement 
toward righting the balance in the direction of the social principle is 
possible. 'Efforts must be renewed again and again to determine in what 
spheres it is possible to alter the ratio between governmental and 
administrative control in favour of the latter.' The change in the appor- 
tionment of power in the direction of decentralization must be accom- 
panied by a continuous change in the nature of power, and political 
Government transformed into social Administration as far as the 
particular conditions permit.^ 

The continued supremacy of the centralistic political principle, how- 
ever, is in general assured by the negative nature of the present peace 
and the preparation for new war. The unifying power of the state rests 
primarily on this general instability and not on the punitive and 
propagandistic facilties at the state's disposal. It is necessary, therefore, 
that we begin the social restructuring of society with the establishment 
of a true, positive, and creative peace between peoples. This peace can- 
not be attained through political organization, writes Buber, but 
through 'the resolute will of all peoples to cultivate the territories and 
raw materials of our planet and govern its inhabitants, together.' * 
If, instead of the prevailing anarchical relationships among 

nations, there were co-operation in the control of raw materials, 

^ 'Society and the State,' p. 11 f. ^ Ibid. 

3 Ibid p 12 * Ibid.y p. 11; Paths in Utopia, p. 132. 


Between Man and Man 

agreement on methods of manufacture of such materials, and regu- 
lation of the world market, Society would be in a position, for the 
first time, to constitute itself as such.^ 

The great danger in such planetary production is that it will result in 
*a gigantic centralization of power' which will devour all free com- 
munity. If international co-operation is to lead to true world peace, it 
must rest on the base of a confederation of commonwealths all of which 
are in turn based on *the actual and communal life of big and little 
groups living and working together.' ^ 

Everything depends on whether the collectivity into whose hands 
the control of the means of production passes will facilitate and 
promote in its very structure and in all its institutions the genuine 
common life of the various groups composing it ... on whether 
centralist representation only goes as far as the new order of things 
absolutely demands.* 

This is not a question of either-or, but of an unwearying scrutiny which 
will draw ever anew the right line of demarcation between those spheres 
which must be centralized and those which can be reserved to the auto- 
nomous regulation of the individual communities. The larger the 
measure of autonomy granted to local, regional, and functional groups, 
the more room will be left for the free unfolding of social energies.* 

The excess power of the state cannot be destroyed by revolution, for 
it is the result of a relationship between men which makes the coercive 
order necessary and, in particular, the weakness of those communal 
groups which could force the state to yield this excess power. The 
creation and renewal of a real organic structure itself destroys the state 
and replaces superfluous compulsion. *Any action . . . beyond this 
would be illegitimate and bound to miscarry because ... it would lack 
the constructive spirit necessary for further advance.' Revolutions are 
tragically destined to produce the opposite of their positive goal so long 
as this goal has not taken shape in society before the revolution. 

In the social as opposed to the political sphere, revolution is not 
so much a creative as a delivering force whose function is to set 
free and authenticate ... it can only perfect, set free, and lend the 
stamp of authority to something that has already been fore- 
shadowed in the womb of the pre-revolutionary society.^ 

The real way for society to prepare the ground for improving the 
relations between itself and the political principle, according to Buber, 

1 'Society and the State,' p. 11. « Paths in Utopia, p. 132 f. 

» Ibid., p. 133 f. * Ibid., p. 134; 'Society and the State,* p. 12. 

• Paths in Utopia, pp. 44-48. 


Social Philosophy 
is *social education.' Social education seeks to arouse and develop the 
spontaneity of fellowship which is 'innate in all unravaged souls' and 
which is entirely harmonious with the development of personal existence 
and personal thought. This can only be accomplished, however, by the 
complete overthrow of the political trend which nowadays dominates 
education. True education for citizenship in a state is not education for 
politics but 'education for the effectuation of Society.' ^ Politics does 
not change social conditions. It only registers and sanctions changes 
that have taken place.^ 


"'Utopian" socialism regards the various forms of Co-operative 
Society as being the most important cells for social re-structure,' writes 
Buber. This does not mean that consumer and producer co-operatives 
in their present form can serve that purpose, for the co-operative move- 
ment has not developed in the direction of an organic alliance of produc- 
tion and consumption in a comprehensive communal form or a true 
federation of local societies. Instead the consumer co-operatives have 
tended to become large-scale, capitalistic bureaucracies, and the 
producers co-operatives have become specialized and impersonal or 
have succumbed to the temptation of getting others to work for them. 
Consumer co-operatives are least suited to act as cells for social re- 
construction because common purchasing 'brings people together with 
only a minimal and highly impersonal part of their being.' Buber finds 
the remedy for these deficiencies in what he calls the 'Full Co-operative' 
{Vollgenossenschaft). The Full Co-operative at its best combines produc- 
tion and consumption, industry and agriculture in a co-operative 
community centring around commonly-held land. Although less wide- 
spread and successful than the consumer and producer co-operatives, 
these Full Co-operatives have existed in many places as an outgrowth 
of consumer or producer co-operatives or as separate communal 

Full Co-operatives have usually been unsuccessful, writes Buber, for 
they have often been built on the flimsy base of sentiment or the in- 
flexible base of dogma. Common sentiment is not enough to hold a 
community together, and dogma results in the paralysis, isolation, or 
fragmentation of a community. Moreover, unlike consumer co-opera- 
tives which grew out of local needs, they have often taken their point of 
departure from an abstract idea or theory without reference to given 
localities and their demands. For this reason they have lacked the basis 
for federation which the consumer co-operatives possessed through the 

1 'Society and the State,* p. 12. 
* Israel and Palestine, op. cit., p. 140. 
» Paths in Utopia, pp. 61-67, 78 f., 81. 

Between Man and Man 

identity of local problems in different places. A third reason for the 
failure of these communal experiments, or 'Colonial' Full Co-operatives 
is their isolation from society and from each other. This isolation can 
be remedied by federation of the communities with each other, for 
federation makes up for the smallness of communal groups by enabling 
members to pass from one settlement to another and by allowing the 
groups to complement and help each other. Furthermore, because of 
the need for markets for their surplus production, the refusal of youth 
to be cut off from the outside world, and the need to influence the 
surrounding world, it is important that these communities maintain 
some real, if variable, relation with society at large.^ 

The most powerful effort in the direction of Full Co-operatives, in 
Buber's opinion, has been the Village Communes which have taken the 
form of an organic union of agriculture, industry, and the handicrafts 
and of communal production and consumption. The modern com- 
munal village possesses a latent pervasive force which could spread to 
the towns if further technological developments facilitate and actually 
require the decentralization of industry. Already many countries show 
significant beginnings in the direction of organically transforming the 
town and turning it into an aggregate composed of smaller units. 

The most promising experiment in the Village Commune, according 
to Buber, has been that of the Jewish communes in Palestine. These 
have been based on the needs of given local situation rather than on 
abstract ideas and theories. At the same time they have not been limited 
to the purely topical but have combined it with ideal motives inspired 
by socialistic and Biblical teachings on social justice. The members of 
these communes have combined a rare willingness to experiment and 
critical self-awareness with an *amazingly positive relationship — 
amounting to a regular faith — ... to the inmost being of their 
Commune.' The communes themselves, moreover, have worked to- 
gether in close co-operation and at the same time have left complete 
freedom for the constant branching off of new forms and different types 
of social structure, the most famous of which are the kvuza and the 
kibbuz. *Nowhere, as far as I see, in the history of the Socialist move- 
ment,' writes Buber, *were men so deeply involved in the process of 
differentiation and yet so intent on preserving the principle of inte- 
gration.' 2 

The rapid influx of Jewish refugees into Palestine has resulted in many 
cases in the rise of a quasi-elite who have not been able to provide true 
leadership for the communes and have come into conflict with the 
genuine chaluzim. The failure of the qusisi-chaluzim lies not in their 
relationship to the idea, to the community, or to their work, but in 
their relationship to their fellows. This is not a question of intimacy 
1 Paths in Utopia, pp. 71-74, 79. « Ibid., pp. 140-148. 


Social Philosophy 

such as exists in the small kvuza and is lost in the big. It is rather a 
question of openness. 

A real community need not consist of people who are perpetually 
together; but it must consist of people who, precisely because they 
are comrades, have mutual access to one another and are ready for 
one another. . . . The internal questions of a community are thus 
in reality questions relating to its own genuineness, hence to its 
inner strength and stability. ^ 

Despite an inadequate development of neighbourly relationship 
between the communes. Buber feels that the Jewish communes are of 
central significance in the struggle for a structurally new society in 
which individual groups will be given the greatest possible autonomy 
and yet will enjoy the greatest possible interrelationship with each other. 
This picture of the socialist restructuring of society is based on the 
awareness of an underlying trend toward social renewal — a trend which 
is not at present dominant but has the potentiality of becoming so. This 
trend *is thoroughly topical and constructive,' Buber writes. The 
changes at which it aims are feasible in the given circumstances and 
with the means at its disposal. Of equal importance, it is based on an 
eternal human need : 'the need of man to feel his own house as a room 
in some greater, all-embracing structure in which he is at home, to feel 
that the other inhabitants of it with whom he lives and works are all 
acknowledging and confirming his individual existence.' ^ The decision 
between the centralistic socialism of political power and the spontaneous 
socialism of genuine social change is, for this reason, the most important 
decision of the next generation. *The coming state of humanity in the 
great crisis,' said Buber in 1952, 'depends very much on whether another 
type of socialism can be set up against Moscow, and I venture even 
today to call it Jerusalem.' ^ 

Commenting on Buber's social philosophy, Paul Pfuetze writes: 

It seems to be a remedy which . . . cannot be taken by the patient 
until he is already well. Communities incorporating the I-Thou 
attitude and the Utopian socialism of Buber cannot be manu- 
factured to order — except perhaps in a small new land like modern 
Israel, or at certain plastic points within the established order, 
there to work as yeast in the lump.* 

1 Ibid., p. 143 flF. ' Ibid., p. 139 f. 

2 From an address on Israel given by Professor Buber at the Jewish Theological 
Seminary of America in New York City, April 1, 1952. 

* The Social Self, op. cit., p. 347 f. 


Between Man and Man 

Pfuetze's comment is not so much a criticism of Buber's social philo- 
sophy as a reminder of the difficulties which would attend the attempt 
to apply it in any large-scale industrial society, difficulties Buber him- 
self would be the first to recognize. Buber is not advocating a simple 
substitution of one social structure for another but a direction of move- 
ment, a 'restructuring.' He is not advocating simple decentralization, 
but the greatest measure of decentralization compatible with the need 
of the state to maintain unity. Nor does he suggest that this social 
restructuring will come about through any revolution or merely political 
change, but through social education — *the education of a generation 
with a truly social outlook and a truly social will.' ^ In this connection, 
as we have seen, Buber redefines education for citizenship as education 
for the effectuation of society, or the social principle. This redefinition 
of true citizenship is of particular significance at the present time when 
'citizenship' is almost universally regarded as a purely political virtue. 
Not only the blind loyalty of the totalitarian conception of citizenship 
and the compulsory conformity of the democracies, but even the 
exclusive emphasis of the liberal on the citizenship of political organiza- 
tion and votes serves to increase the power of the centralized state and 
to strengthen the political principle at the expense of the social. This 
diminution of social spontaneity has grown to such a degree in our time 
that education throughout the world is dominated by the political trend 
and society is generally politicized. 

The crucial thing here was not that the State, particularly in its 
more or less totalitarian forms, weakened and gradually displaced 
the free associations, but that the political principle with all its 
centralistic features percolated into the associations themselves, 
modifying their structure and their whole inner life, and thus 
politicized society to an ever-increasing extent.^ 

It is this domination of the political principle that stands in the way 
of recognizing the realistic significance of Buber's social philosophy. 
That a genuine social revolution can only take place from below will 
first become convincingly clear, writes Heinz- Joachim Heydorn, when 
we are able to free ourselves from the predominance of a purely political 
thought that does not understand the long-term problems of our 
modern Ufe. 

Buber's inquiries represent, in my opinion, the most important 
contribution that has been made in many years to the question of 
socialism. Here the basic question of all renewal is posed once 
again: the question about man. But this question remains closely 

1 'Society and the State,* p. 12. 
« Ibid., p. 11 f.; Paths in Utopia, p. 131. 

Social Philosophy 
bound to reality; it is concerned with man in his present-day form, 
with man in our time. The reality in which this man lives, the 
reality of his technical greatness, has barred him in growing 
measure from the true road to himself. We shall not be able to re- 
open this road for him if we wish to redeem him through purely 
political means without restoring to him the immediacy of his 

A significant confirmation of Buber's social philosophy is contained 
in Kurt Riezler's article, 'What Is Public Opinion?' Riezler defines 
public opinion as the concern of an I and a You about 'what They, the 
others, taken collectively, are thinking and saying,' and he defines 
society itself as a growing and changing group based on the mutual 
response of I and Thou. T and Thou,' he writes, 'are the eternal cell of 
any living body social.' He uses the term 'response' as including genuine 
responsibility, listening as well as speaking, and an element of possible 
surprise— all in clear contrast to 'the general interest in salesmanship, 
the worship of efficiency for its own sake,' and 'the emphasis of psycho- 
logical schools on stimuli, conditioned responses and the manipulation 
of emotions.' These emphases 'conjoin in inflating the concept of propa- 
ganda and allow the simple fact of Adam's and Eve's mutual response 
... to fall into scholarly oblivion.' This mutual response is the real 
cohesive force of society, for when a crisis comes it is this which is 
tested: 'Only a response of honesty to honesty can re-establish the 
common ground, face the facts, revise the assumptions, and keep the 
society flexible enough to withstand the storm.' ^ 

This flexibility is endangered by the formation of large social groups 
which receive their opinions ready made and cease to communicate 
with one another. Such cleavages are the inevitable result of the mass 
society of our age. If they grow and 'split the society on a nationwide 
scale into parts that no longer understand one another's language, the 
free society faces its doom.' This is just what took place in Germany, 
Riezler points out, years before Hitler captured the machinery of the 
state.^ He concludes : 

Only if and in so far as the mass society of the industrial age can 
be and remain a universe of mutual response, in which responsive 
and responsible people respond to one another in matters of 
common concern, will this mass society remain a society . . . 
mutual response must exist in an understandable form between 
those who know and those who do not know; the former must call 
for and listen to the latter's response.* 

1 Heydora, 'Martin Buber und der Sozialismus,' op. cit., p. 709 (my translation). 
« Kurt Riezler, 'What Is Public Opinion?', Social Research, XI (1944), pp. 398-415. 
» Ibid., p. 418 ff. * Ibid., p. 426. 


Between Man and Man 

The conclusion to be drawn from Riezler's treatment of public 
opinion is that true community must be re-established in mass society 
if that society is to remain a free one which serves the people. Thus 
Ruber's restructuring of society into genuine communities, however 
'impractical' it may seem, is a necessity toward which we must work. 
This does not mean any optimism about the ease with which Ruber's 
social philosophy can be applied. On the contrary, to turn one's face 
in the right direction is to see how far we have to go. The dominance 
of the social principle over the political cannot be achieved through any 
rearrangement of existing relations but only through really changed 
relations within and between communities. 

Here not only the present mass structure of individual nations stands 
in the way but also the relations between nations. Faith in dialogue is 
perhaps the one antidote to the fear which makes us see a country with 
an ideology different from our own as the alien, the 'other,' which has 
to be destroyed in order that we can live in a truly 'human' world, that 
is, a world dominated solely by our own 'world-view' or ego-perspective. 
Yet no faith in dialogue can be genuinely founded unless it includes the 
whole man, with all of his irrationality and 'evil impulses,' as the bearer 
of this dialogue. Nor can it be genuinely founded if it thinks in terms 
of the 'dialogue' between states rather than between peoples, between 
the representatives of states rather than between the responsible and 
tested leaders of genuine communities. What is more, as Buber has 
pointed out, the resumption of true dialogue between peoples will only 
be possible when the existential mistrust which divides the world into 
two hostile camps is overcome. Commenting on Robert Maynard 
Hutchins' call for a Civilization of the Dialogue which can be attained 
when we induce the other party to talk through 'exhibiting an interest in 
and a comprehension of what he might say if he were willing to speak,' ^ 
Buber writes : 

Nothing stands so much in the way of the rise of a Civilization of 
Dialogue as the demonic power which rules our world, the demonry 
of basic mistrust. What does it help to induce the other to speak if 
basically one puts no faith in what he says? The meeting with him 
already takes place under the perspective of his untrustworthiness. 
And this perspective is not incorrect, for his meeting with me takes 
place under a corresponding perspective.^ 

'The factual life of factual men,' writes Buber, 'is smeared and crusted 
over with the varnish of political fiction.' Some of the reproaches which 

^ Robert Maynard Hutchins, 'Goethe and the Unity of Mankind,' Goethe and 
the Modern Age, ed. by Arnold Bergstraesser (Chicago: Henry Regnery, 1950), 
p. S99 f. 

* 'Hope for This Hour,' op. cit. 


Social Philosophy 

the one side hurls at the other are realistic enough, he adds, but in order 
for this reality to be regarded concretely it must first be freed from its 
incrustation of catchwords. In the closed sphere of the exclusively 
political there is no way to penetrate to the factual nor to relieve the 
present situation. *Its "natural end** is the technically perfect suicide of 
the human race.* It is just this powerlessness of politics which must be 
recognized today before it is too late, and it must be recognized by men 
who will come together out of the camps and will talk with one another, 
despite their criticism of the opposing system and their loyalty to their 
own. If these men will begin to speak with one another not as pawns on 
a chessboard but as they themselves in the chamber of human reality, a 
tiny seed of change will have been started which could lead to a trans- 
formation of the whole situation. 

I mean especially just those who are basically convinced of the 
rightness of the idea from which their government ultimately stems 
and know, just for that reason, that the catastrophe which would 
flow from the victory of the regime would mean the collapse of the 

If men such as these arise, they will have behind them an unorganized 
group for whom they speak. Although they will be 'independent persons 
with no other authority than that of the spirit,* they may yet be effective 
in the time that approaches as no merely political representatives can 
be. Unlike the latter, they will not be bound by the aims of the hour 
and hence will be able to distinguish between the true and the exag- 
gerated needs of their own and other people. When they have sifted out 
of the alleged amount of antagonisms the real conflicts between genuine 
needs, they will be ready to move toward a settlement of those conflicts 
on the base of the fundamental question : What does every man need 
in order to live as man? 'If the globe is not to burst asunder,' writes 
Buber, those who stand in the authority of the spirit must come to one 
another out of the camps and dare to deal with this question in terms 
of the whole planet. There is one front of such men, writes Buber, the 
representatives of a true humanity who fight together even without 
knowing it, each in his own place. Only through genuine dialogue 
between them in which each of the partners, even when he stands in 
opposition to the other, attends to, affirms, and confirms him as this 
existing other, 'can the opposition, certainly not be removed from the 
world, but be humanly arbitrated and led toward its overcoming.' ^ 

^ Martin Buber, 'Abstrakt und Konkret,' Hinweise, op. cit., p. 327 ff., an 
additional note to 'HofFnung fiir diese Stunde,' the German original of 'Hope for 
This Hour.' 'HofFnung fiir diese Stunde' was published in Hinweise, pp. 313-326. 

-Pointing the Way, 'Genuine Dialogue and the Possibilities of Peace." 'Hope 
for This Hour,' 'Validity and Limitation of the PoHtical Principle (1953). 


Social Philosophy 

SUPPLEMENTARY NOTE (1959): FoF an important statement by Buber on the 
problem of Jewish-Arab co-operation in the Near East see his essay, 'Israel and 
the Command of the Spirit,' trans, by Maurice Friedman, Congress Weekly, 
XXV, No. 14 (Sept. 8, 1958), p. 10 ff. On international relations in general see 
Ruber's statement in the 'Hydrogen Cobalt Bomb' special issue of Pulpir Digest, 
XXXIV, No. 194 (June 1954), p. 36, and Irwin Ross's interview with Buber 
in the New York Post, Vol. 156, No. 300 (November 7, 1957), M2, 'Voice of 
the Sages,' Article II. In an address at Cambridge University on June 5, 1958 
Dag Hammarskjold, the Secretary General of the United Nations, echoes 
Buber's call for renewed 'contact and communications across geographical and 
political boundaries.' Hammarskjold quotes at length from Buber's state- 
ment on unmasking in Pointing the Way, 'Hope for This Hour,' p. 223 f., refer- 
ring to Buber as 'one of the influential thinkers of our time whose personal 
history and national experience have given him a vantage point of significance.' 
(United Nations Press Release SG 684, June 5, 1958.) In a recent press con- 
ference Secretary General Hammarskjold announced his intention of translating 
into Swedish some of the essays from the 'Politics, Community, and Peace' 
section of Pointing the Way. I think that Martin Buber has made a major 
contribution' in these essays, said Hammarskjold, 'and I would like to make 
that more broadly known.' (Note to Correspondents #1934, February 5, 1959. 
p. 5.) 

Although Reinhold Niebuhr considers Buber the greatest living Jewish Phi- 
losopher, he is, in contrast to Hammarskjold, highly critical of Buber's social 
philosophy. In his review of Pointing the Way Niebuhr suggests that Buber's 
thought becomes Utopian when its illuminating insights into personal life are 
applied to the relations of the 'we' and 'they' of organized groups or nations. 
(New York Times Book Review, April 13, 1958.) In a letter to me of June 22. 
1956, Niebuhr writes: 'Personal relations exist in transcendence over the basic 
structure of society, which is partly organic and partly an artifact . . . insofar 
as the justice, particularly in modern technical society, depends upon artfully 
constructed equilibria of power.' To this Buber replied in two letters to me: 
'There is indeed a norm of justice. . . . But man tends to accept and to realise 
this norm only in general and abstract laws . . . and without justice in personal 
relations justice becomes poisonous.' (July 1956.) 'What Niebuhr calls the basic 
structure of society is . . . based on personal relations, and where it subdues 
them it becomes wrong. As to modern technical society, of course it depends 
upon "artfully constructed equilibria of power," but what depends on them is 
its order and not its justice. ... I cannot see the God-willed reality of 
justice anywhere other than in "being just," and this means of course: being 
just as far as it is possible here and now, under the "artful" conditions of actual 
society. . . . Sometimes, striving to be just, I go on in the dark, till my head 
meets the wall and aches, and then I know: Here is the wall, and I cannot go 
further. But I could not know it beforehand, nor otherwise." (November 29. 
1956.) The political order embodies justice in the sense of making it possible 
and of putting limits on the practice of injustice. But real justice does not exist 
until men actually make use of the foundation and material provided by this 
impersonal political order to build just relationships in concrete situations. 
(This correspondence between Buber and Niebuhr will be published in Maurice 
Friedman, ed.. 'Martin Buber' section. Interrogations of Contemporary Philoso- 
phers, ed. by Sidney C. Rome. New Haven: Yale Univ. Press, 1960.) 





ONE of the aspects of Buber's thought on God which is most 
difl&cult to understand is his characterization of God as an 
'Absolute Person,' as Being which becomes Person in order to 
know and be known, to love and be loved by man. This concept 
decisively sets Buber off from those mystics who look at the ground of 
being as impersonal Godhead and regard God as only the personal 
manifestation of this ground. It seems to the impersonalist and the 
mystic that Buber is limiting God, for they think of personality as 
limitation and the Eternal Thou as a designation for God as He is in 
Himself. What Buber really means is made unmistakably clear in 
'Religion and Philosophy,' in which he speaks of Buddha's relation to 
the 'Unborn, Unoriginated, Uncreated' as an I-Thou relation because 
Buddha stands essentially related to it with his whole being. 

The personal manifestation of the divine is not decisive for the 
genuineness of religion. What is decisive is that I relate myself to 
the divine as to Being which is over against me, though not over 
against me alone} 

Thus the 'Eternal Thou' is not a symbol of God but of our relation with 
God. What is more, no real symbol of God is possible for we do not 
know Him as He is in Himself! 

It is indeed legitimate to speak of the person of God within the 
religious relation and in its language; but in so doing we are making 
no essential statement about the Absolute which reduces it to the 
personal. We are rather saying that it enters into the relationship 
as the Absolute Person whom we call God. One may understand the 
personality of God as His act — it is, indeed, even permissible for 

^ Eclipse of God, op, cit.j p. 39 f. 

Between Man and God 
the believer to believe that God became a person for love of him, 
because in our human mode of existence the only reciprocal rela- 
tion with us that exists is a personal one.^ 

Some critics, on the other hand, point to just such statements as the 
above to assert that Buber is really still a mystic postulating an im- 
personal, monistic ground of being.^ That they do so is, in my opinion, 
because they misunderstand the meaning of personality to the extent of 
thinking of it as an objective description of a being taken for himself 
rather than as something that exists in relation and pre-eminently in the 
relation between God and man. Because, at least in part, they think of 
personality as objective, they hope to safeguard God's personality, or 
His personal relations with man, by limiting His nature to the personal 
alone. The Biblical God, on whom they base this limitation, is actually 
the imageless God, the God who manifests Himself in nature and in 
history but cannot be limited to any of these manifestations. 

It is not necessary to know something about God in order really 
to believe in Him: many true believers know how to talk to God 
but not about Him. If one dares to turn toward the unknown God, 
to go to meet Him, to call to Him, Reality is present.^ 

Thus Buber walks the narrow ridge between the mystic and the non- 
mystic, between one who asserts unity with the ground of being and the 
other who either removes God into the transcendence beyond direct 
relation or limits Him to objective *personar existence. 

To the metaphysician, and particularly to the Whiteheadian meta- 
physician, it cannot be comprehensible that Buber speaks of God as an 
Absolute Person, for a person is in relation and therefore is limited and 
in that sense relative. Yet it is precisely on this paradox that Buber rests 
his thought. To speak of God as the Eternal Thou, as Being in relation 
to Becoming, is to express the same paradox. Whitehead is similar to 
Buber in his emphasis upon the concrete meeting between God and the 
world as opposed to the valuation of the abstract unity of God. Like 
Buber, too, he conceives of the redemption of evil as taking place 
through the relation and mutual love of God and the world. He differs 
from Buber, however, in that he is less concerned with our relation to 
God than with the generic relation of God to creatures; relation in the 
end is for him an objective matter — I-It rather than I-Thou. Moreover, 
Whitehead does not emphasize, as does Buber, that God is transcendent 
as well as immanent, absolute as well as in relation. Though God and 

1 Eclipse of God, 'Religion and Ethics,' p. 126 f. 

2 Cf. E. La B. Cherbonnier, 'The Theology of the Word of God,' Journal of 
Religion, XXXIII, No. 1 (January 1953), 28 f. 

^ Eclipse of God, 'Religion and Philosophy,' p. 40. 


Symbol, Myth, and History 

the world are, for Whitehead, opposites, they complete one another 
through a flowing dialectical interaction which lacks the marked polar 
tension of Buber's 'meeting' or 'over-againstness.' ^ Buber thus stands 
at a half-way point between Whitehead and Kierkegaard, having greater 
tension and paradox than Whitehead but less tension and more direct 
relation than Kierkegaard. He agrees with Kierkegaard in his rejection 
of the religion of immanence, but he does not consider the subjective 
relation to the transcendent a paradox or absurdity, as does Kierke- 
gaard in the Concluding Unscientific Postscript, for his I-Thou category 
includes both inwardness and relation."^ 

This problem of the immanence and transcendence of God is an 
especially vexatious one, and here too Buber walks the narrow ridge. 
That not many others walk with him on this ridge is suggested by the 
fact that Karl Heim and Melville Channing-Pearce make use of Buber's 
thought to point to the unqualified transcendence of God, while J. B. 
Coates writes, 'I find the experience of Buber's *T-Thou" world a 
convincing demonstration of divine immanence' ! Gogarten stresses the 
'otherness' of the divine Thou, Marcel and Nedoncelle the togetherness, 
making the I-Thou relation into a Ve.' ^ Buber himself denies that God 
is either merely immanent or merely transcendent. 

Of course God is the 'wholly Other'; but He is also the wholly 
Same, the wholly Present. Of course He is the Mysterium 
Tremendum that appears and overthrows; but He is also the 
mystery of the self-evident, nearer to me than my I.* 

Romano Guardini, very possibly under Buber's influence, makes use of 
this same terminology of God as at once 'the other' and 'the same,' 
other than man but not hostile or alien, the same as man but not 

^ Alfred North Whitehead, Religion in the Making (New York: The Macmillan 
Co., 1946), pp. 90-100, 150-160; Whitehead, Process and Reality, An Essay in 
Cosmology (New York: The Macmillan Co., 1929), pp. 521-532. For a further 
comparison of Buber and Whitehead cf. Hugo Bergmann, 'Der Physiker Whitehead,' 
Die Kreatur, Berlin, Vol. II (1927-28), pp. 356-362, especially p. 361 flf., and Maurice 
Friedman, Martin Buber: Mystic, Existentialist, Social Prophet, op. cit., pp. 326- 
331, 428. Cf. Charles Hartshorne, 'Ruber's Metaphysics,' The Philosophy of 
Martin Buber, he. cit. 

-For an extended comparison between Ruber and Kierkegaard's Conchiding 
Unscientific Postscript see again my dissertation, Martin Buber. op. cit.. 

'Note A, pp. 539-543. Cf. also Maringer, p. 122, 'Anmerkungen 12.' VI, 
Heim, Glaube und Denken and God Transcendent: Nicodemus. Renascence: 
Coates, The Crisis of the Human Person, op. cit., p. 244 f.; Gogarten, Ich 
glaube an den dreieinigen Gott: Marcel, Journal Metaphysique, op. cit.. Part II. 
especially pp. 170, 293 f.; Nedoncelle, La Reciprocite des Consciences, op. cit.. 
especially Part I — 'La Communion des Consciences' and chap, iii — 'La Decou- 
verte de I'Absolu Divin.' * / and Thou, p. 79. 


Between Man and God 

identical.^ J. E. Fison, under Buber's influence, also shows a clear grasp 
of the narrow ridge between transcendence and immanence : 

The antithesis of either God objective and apart from us or else 
God subjective and a part of us needs to be overcome in the higher 
and deeper synthesis towards which Professor Buber points with 
his emphasis on the I-Thou relationship of meeting.^ 

In the light of Buber's clear statement of this middle position, it is 
strange to find John Baillie criticizing him for making God ^Wholly 
Other' and too simply Thou and not I.^ Baillie's criticism is perhaps 
based on the confusion of Buber's Eternal Thou with a symbol of God 
as He is in Himself. Even though God is within us as well as outside us, 
we must still relate to him as Thou. His Thou-ness by no means implies 
simple transcendence, for if God were simply transcendent we could 
have no relation to Him at all. He would then be merely a hostile and 
terrifying 'Other' or some Gnostic divinity entirely cut off from our 
world and our life. 

This same misunderstanding has been expressed in connection with 
the problem of whether the reciprocity of man and God in the I-Thou 
relationship must necessarily imply an equality that denies man's 
creatureliness and discourages the humility which man should have 
before God. Guardini, Maurice Nedoncelle, and H. H. Farmer have 
convincingly shown that reciprocity does not imply equality, as has 
Buber himself. Gogarten and CuUberg have taken the contrary view and 
have sought to protect the distance between man and God by positing 
God as the subject and man the object, God as always the I and man 
as always the Thou. This denial of reciprocity and this equation of the 
Thou with the object both constitute a fundamental distortion of the 
I-Thou relationship which takes from it much of its meaning. For Buber, 
in contrast, the mystery of creation implies that God gives man the 
independent existence and real spontaneity that enable him to recognize 
himself as an I and to say Thou to God. A genuinely reciprocal relation- 
ship demands that man regard himself not as an object of God's thought 
but as a really free person — a partner in dialogue.* 

Our relation to the Eternal Thou is perhaps best understood from the 
nature of the demand which one person makes on another if the two of 
them really meet. The demand is not, as Gogarten would say, that the I 

^ Guardini, Welt und Person, op. cit., chap, iii— 'Gott und "der Andere",' 
pp. 23-29. 

^ Fison, The Blessing of the Holy Spirit, op. cit., p. 23. 

2 Baillie, Our Knowledge of God, op. cit., pp. 233-239. 

* Guardini, Welt und Person, pp. 23-29, 111-114; NedonceUe, pp. 86-109; Herbert 
H. Farmer, The World and God, op. cit., pp. 23-31, 60-66, 97 f., 201 f.; Eclipse of 
God, 'Religion and Ethics,' p. 138. Cf. my review of Abraham J. Heschel's Man Is 
Not Alone in the Journal of Religion, October 1951. 


Symbol, Myth, and History 

choose between the I and the Thou and give up his own self for the 
other. Rather it is the demand of the relationship itself— the demand 
that if you are to meet me, you must become as much of a person as I 
am. God places on man an unconditional demand. In order to remain 
open to God, he must change in his whole being. This demand makes 
more comprehensible God's double aspect of love and justice: judgment 
is the individual's judgment of himself when he cuts himself off from 
relationship with God. This 'judgment of his non-existence,' as Buber 
calls it, does not mean that God ceases to love him. 

This emphasis on reciprocity in no way jeopardizes true humility 
before God, but an undue emphasis on humility does jeopardize reci- 
procity. True humility means that one sees oneself as addressed with 
one's very life and one's life task as that of responding to this address. 
False humility goes beyond this and denies the reality of the address 
and the response by denying the reality of the self and of man's freedom 
to answer or remain silent. For this reason, an undue emphasis on 
humility actually becomes a form of not responding to God. It allows 
a man the illusion that he is escaping from the burden of freedom and 
responsibility, and it thus destroys true personal relationship. In the end 
these two must go together — genuine reciprocity and utter humility. 
On the narrow ridge of their togetherness the man of faith walks, 
avoiding the abyss of self-affirmation on the one hand and self-denial 
on the other. 

Everyone must have two pockets, so that he can reach into the 
one or the other, according to his needs. In his right pocket are to 
be the words: 'For my sake was the world created,' and in his left: 
T am dust and ashes.' ^ 


Buber' s I-Thou philosophy implies a radical reversal of the idealist 
and mystical attitude toward symbolism which sees the symbol as the 
concrete manifestation of some universal if not directly knowable 
reality. For Buber the meaning of the symbol is found not in its univer- 
sality but in the fact that it points to a concrete event which witnesses 
just as it is, in all its concreteness, transitoriness, and uniqueness, to the 
relation with the Absolute. The symbol does, of course, become abstract 
when it is detached from a concrete event. But this is a metamorphosis 
of the central content of the symbol, a metamorphosis which deprives 
the symbol of its real meaning just by giving it the all-meaning of the 
'universal' and the 'spiritual.' This all-meaning is always only a substi- 
tute for the meaning apprehended in the concrete. It never really means 

^ A Hasidic saying from Ten Rungs, op. cit., p. 106. 

Between Man and God 
a particular time, a particular place, and a particular event happening 
to individuals in all their uniqueness. Symbolic events are instead 
regarded as merely manifestations of the universal and hence as not 
having meaning in themselves but only to the extent that they have lost 
their particularity. 

Here we have again the distinction between the I-It relation which 
leads back to the reality of I-Thou and that which obstructs the entrance 
into I-Thou, the distinction between religion which sees meaning as the 
bond between the Absolute and the concrete and philosophy which sees 
it as the bond between the Absolute and the universal. The true symbol, 
as Buber understands it, is that which derives from and points back to 
the concrete relationship. 

It does not belong to the nature of symbols to hover timelessly 
over concrete actualities. Whenever the symbol appears, it owes its 
appearance always to the unforeseen, unique, occasion, to its 
having appeared the first time. The symbol derives its enduring 
character from a transitory event. . . . For the image of the un- 
broken meaning . . . serves always in the first instance our born, 
mortal body — everything else is only repetition, simplification, 

imitation The covenant which the Absolute enters into with the 

concrete, not heeding the general, the 'idea,' . . . chooses movements 
made by the human figure. . . . And this sign endures. It may lose 
in immediate validity, in 'evidential value,' but it may also renew 
itself out of later human existence, which accomplishes anew.^ 

Because the symbol means the covenant between the Absolute and 
the concrete, its meaning is not independent of lived human life in all 
its concreteness. Not only does this lived concreteness originally produce 
the symbol, but only this can renew its meaning for those who have 
inherited it and save it from becoming merely spiritual and not truly 

All symbols are ever in danger of becoming spiritual, and not 
binding images, instead of remaining real signs sent into life; all 
sacraments are ever in danger of becoming plain experiences, 
levelled down to the 'religious' plane, instead of remaining the 
incarnate connection between what is above and what is below. 
Only through the man who devotes himself is the original power 
saved for further present existence.^ 

The highest manifestation of the symbol is, in fact, a human life lived 
in relation to the Absolute. The prophets were symbols in that sense, for 

^ Hasidism, op. cit., 'Symbolical and Sacramental Existence in Judaism,' p. 117 f. 
^ Ibid., p. US. 


Symbol, Myth, and History 

God does not merely speak through their mouths, as through the Greek 
oracle or prophet, but the whole human being is for Him a mouth. 
Passivity and activity, possession and speech, go together here in *one 
single, inclusive function, and the undivided person is necessary to 
establish the indivisible function.' ^ 


The most concrete and dramatic form of the symbol is the myth. To 
such writers as C. G. Jung and Ananda K. Coomaraswamy the myth is 
an embodiment in different forms and cultures of a perennial reality, 
the spiritual process whereby the one becomes the many and the many 
returns unto the one or the psychological process whereby integration 
of the personality is achieved and the divine Self realized within the 
unconscious.^ In his early thinking Buber also thought of myth as a 
particular manifestation of a universal mystical reality. Yet by 1907 he 
was already developing in a different direction by distinguishing between 
the *pure myth' in which there is variety without differentiation and the 
'legend' in which the subject is divided and God and the hero or saint 
stand opposed to one another as I and Thou.^ In 1921 he expanded and 
developed this concept into a distinction between myth, saga, and 
legend. Myth is the expression of a world in which the divine and the 
human live next to and in one another; saga is the expression of a world 
in which they are no longer intertwined and man already begins to sense 
with a shudder what is over against him; legend expresses a world in 
which the separation is completed, but now a dialogue and interchange 
takes place from sphere to sphere and it is of this that the myth 

Since Ich und Du (1923) Buber's dialogical understanding of myth 
has become increasingly clear. 'Real myth,' he wrote in 1950, 'is the 
expression, not of an imaginative state of mind or of mere feeling, but 
of a real meeting of two Realities.' ^ Myth is not a human narrative of 
a one-sided divine manifestation, as Buber once thought, but a 'mythiza- 
tion' of the memory of the meeting between God and man. Some myths 
contain within themselves the nexus of a concrete historical event 

1 Ibid., pp. 118-123; The Prophetic Faith, op. cit., p. 112 f. 

^ Cf. Jung, Modern Man in Search of a Soul (1933), Psychology and Religion 
(1938), The Integration of the Personality (1940); Ananda K. Coomaraswamy, 
Hinduism and Buddhism. 

^ Foreword to Die Legende des Baalschem, op. cit. 

* Der grosse Maggid und seine Nachfolge, op. cit., 'Vorwort,' p. v f. 

^ Introductory note by Buber, written in 1950, to Martin Ruber, 'Myth in 
Judaism,' trans, by Ralph Manheim, Commentary, Vol. IX (June 1950), p. 565 f. 
For the original of this essay see 'Der Mythos der Juden,' in Vom Geist des Judentums, 
op. cit., also reprinted in Reden iiber das Judentum, op. cit. 


Between Man and God 
experienced by a group or by an individual while many have lost their 
historical character and contain only the symbolic expression of a 
universal experience of man. To this latter class belong the Jewish and 
Zoroastrian myths of the origin of evil which Buber uses to illustrate 
his anthropological treatment of good and evil. He writes concerning 
them: 'We are dealing here, as Plato already knew, with truths such as 
can be communicated adequately to the generality of mankind only in 
the form of myths.' ^ It is important to recognize, however, that even 
here countless concrete meetings of I and Thou have attained symbolic 
expression in the relatively abstract form. It is just this in fact which 
gives these myths their universality and profundity. Because these myths 
are products of actual human experience, they tell us something of the 
structure of human reality which nothing else can tell us.^ 

Buber's characterization of myth as a product of the I-Thou relation 
finds significant support in the thought of two important modern 
writers on myth, Ernst Cassirer and Henri Frankfort. Buber's distinc- 
tion between the I-It and the I-Thou relations is closely similar to 
Cassirer's distinction between 'discursive' and 'mythical' thinking. 
Discursive thinking, writes Cassirer, denotes what has already been 
noticed. It classifies into groups and synthesizes parts into a whole. It 
does not contemplate a particular case but instead gives it a fixed 
intellectual 'meaning' and definite character through linking it with 
other cases into a general framework of knowledge. The particular is 
never important in itself but only in terms of its relation to this frame- 
work. Mythical thought, on the contrary, is not concerned with relating 
data but with a sudden intuition, an immediate experience in which it 
comes to rest. 'The immediate content ... so fills his consciousness that 
nothing else can exist beside and apart from it.' This content 'is not 
merely viewed and contemplated, but overcomes a man in sheer 
immediacy.' ^ 

This similarity between mythical thinking and the I-Thou relation is 
made explicit through Professor (and Mrs.) Frankfort's use of Buber's 
distinction between I-It and I-Thou, their identification of myth with 
the dynamically reciprocal I-Thou relation in which every faculty of 
man is involved, and their recognition of the unique and unpredictable 
character of the Thou — 'a presence known only in so far as it reveals 

'Thou' is not contemplated with intellectual detachment; it is 
experienced as life confronting life. . . . The whole man confronts 

1 Moses, op. cit., p. 17; Israel and the World, op. cit., 'Biblical Leadership,' 
p. 119 f.; Images of Good and Evil, op. cit., p. 12. 

^ Images of Good and Evil, pp. 57-60. 

^ Ernst Cassirer, Language and Myth, trans, by Suzanne Langer (New York: 
Harper & Brothers, 1946), pp. 11, 18, 27. 


Symbol, Myth, and History 
a living Thou' in nature; and the whole man — emotional and 
imaginative as well as intellectual — gives expression to the 


Buber goes significantly beyond Cassirer and even Frankfort, how- 
ever, in his understanding of the relation between history and myth. 
Identifying history with discursive thinking, Cassirer speaks of the 
historical fact as meaningful only as a member of a course of events or 
a teleological nexus and not in its particularity and uniqueness. Frank- 
fort recognizes that myth arises not only in connection with man's 
relation to nature, the cosmos, and the change of the seasons, but also 
in his relation to a transcendent God in the course of history. But when 
he speaks of the will of God, the chosen people, and the Kingdom of 
God as 'myths,' he tends to remove from history that concreteness 
which is of its very essence. 

The doctrine of a single, unconditioned, transcendent God . . . 
postulated a metaphysical significance for history and for man's 
actions. ... In transcending the Near Eastern myths of immanent 
godhead, they [the Hebrews] created . . . the new myth of the will 
of God. It remained for the Greeks, with their peculiar intellectual 
courage, to discover a form of speculative thought in which myth 
was entirely overcome.^ 

Thus myth to Frankfort is primarily important as a form of thought 
rather than as an embodiment of concrete events. For Buber, as we 
have seen, the emphasis is the other way around. For this reason the 
meeting with God in history is even more important to him than the 
meeting with God in nature. True history, in consequence, must include 
just that concreteness and uniqueness which Cassirer attributes to 
mythical thinking. Much of history is, of course, universal and abstract; 
yet real history also contains at its core the memory of the concrete and 
particular meeting between I and Thou. T hold myth to be indispens- 
able,' writes Buber, 'but I do not hold it to be central. . . . Myth must 
verify itself in man and not man in myth. . . . What is wrong is not the 
mythization of reality which brings the inexpressible to speech, but the 
gnosticizing of myth which tears it out of the ground of history and 
biography in which it took root.' ^ 

^ H. and H. A. Frankfort, et. al., The Intellectual Adventure of Ancient Man, 
An Essay on Speculative Thought in the Ancient Near East (Chicago: The University 
of Chicago Press, 1946), p. 4 ff. 

2 Ibid., concluding chapter, 'The Emancipation of Thought from Myth'; also 
found in H. and H. A. Frankfort, et al., Before Philosophy (Pelican Books A 198), 
chap, viii, pp. 241-248. 

^ Origin and Meaning of Hasidism, op. cit., 'Christ, Hasidism, Gnosis.' 


Between Man and God 
This attitude toward the relation between history and myth is de- 
veloped by Buber in his books of biblical commentary, Konigtum 
Gottes, Moses, and The Prophetic Faith, and it is this which constitutes 
one of the most significant contributions of these remarkable works. 
Emil Brunner has written of the first of these, Konigtum Gottes, that it 
is *a book which shows what history is better than any philosophy of 
history.' ^ In these studies Buber leads us on a narrow ridge between the 
traditionalist's insistence on the literal truth of the biblical narrative and 
the modern critic's tendency to regard this narrative as of merely literary 
or symbolic significance. The former tend to regard the events of the 
Bible as supernatural miracles and the quest for any reality comparable 
to our own experiences as illicit. The latter see them as impressive 
fantasies or fictions, interesting from a purely immanent and human 
point of view. Between these two approaches Buber sets down a third : 

We must adopt the critical approach and seek reality, here as 
well, by asking ourselves what human relation to real events this 
could have been which led gradually, along many bypaths and by 
way of many metamorphoses, from mouth to ear, from one 
memory to another, and from dream to dream, until it grew into 
the written account we have read.^ 

This third way is one which refuses the alternatives of factual history 
or universal and timeless myth and proclaims the history which gives 
rise to myth, the myth which remembers history : 

What is preserved for us here is to be regarded not as the 
*historization' of a myth or a cult drama, nor is it to be explained 
as the transposition of something originally beyond time into 
historical time : a great history-faith does not come into the world 
through interpretation of the extra-historical as historical, but by 
receiving an occurrence experienced as a 'wonder,' that is as an 
event which cannot be grasped except as an act of God.^ 

The saga is the direct and unique expression of the reporter's *know- 
ledge' of an event. Rather, this knowledge is itself a legendary one, 
representing through the organic work of mythicizing memory the 
believed-in action of God on His people. It is not fantasy which is active 
here but memory, that believing memory of the souls and generations 
of early times which works unarbitrarily out of the impulse of an extra- 
ordinary event. Even the myth which seems most fantastic of all is 

1 Emil Brunner, Man in Revolt (Philadelphia: Westminster Press, 1947, London: 
Lutterworth, 1948), p. 448, n. 2. 

* Israel and the World, 'The Man of Today and the Jewish Bible,' pp. 97-100; 
Moses, p. 61 f. 

3 The Prophetic Faith, p. 46. 


Symbol, Myth, and History 

creation around the kernel of the organically shaping memory. *Here, 
unlike the concept familiar in the science of religion, myth means 
nothing other than the report by ardent enthusiasts of that which has 
befallen them.' 

Here history cannot be dissevered from the historical wonder; 
but the experience which has been transmitted to us, the experience 
of event as wonder, is itself great history and must be understood 
out of the element of history.^ 

Buber's third way does not mean a dismissal of the comparative 
aspects of the history of religions but it guards against the blurring of 
the historical figure which is caused by the now widespread shifting into 
the primitive. It recognizes the connections of historical celebrations 
with ancient nature rites but also points out the essential transforma- 
tion of those rites which took place when they were given a historical 
character.^ Moreover, in addition to understanding an event compara- 
tively and in terms of the stages of religious development, it leaves room 
for the criterion of uniqueness. 

There are in the history of religion events, situations, figures, 
expressions, deeds, the uniqueness of which cannot be regarded as 
the fruit of thought or song, or as a mere fabrication, but simply 
and solely as a matter of fact. . . .^ 

This criterion of uniqueness must be used with *scientific intuition,* 
and it cannot be applied to all events but only to unusual ones. One 
such unusual event is that which Buber calls a 'historical mystery.' *A 
historical mystery always means a relation between a super-personal 
fate and a person, and particularly that which is atypical in a person; 
that by which the person does not belong to his type.' Buber's criterion 
of the uniqueness of the fact is of especial importance because, as in the 
concept of the historical mystery, it goes beyond the phenomenological 
approach which at present dominates the study of the history of 
religions. 'Irrespective of the importance of the typological view of 
phenomena in the history of the spirit, the latter, just because it is 
history, also contains the atypical, the unique in the most precise sense.' 
This concern with uniqueness is a natural corollary of Buber's belief that 
the absolute is bound to the concrete and not to the universal and his 
corresponding valuation of the particular over the general. This valua- 
tion of the particular provides Buber with another criterion, that of the 

^ Moses, pp. 14-17; Israel and the World, 'Biblical Leadership,' p. 119 fF.; 
Konigtum Gottes, op. cit., p. 9 f. 

2 Konigtum Gottes, p. 120 ff.; Moses, pp. 56 f., 81, 128, 158. 

3 The Prophetic Faith, p. 6. 


Between Man and God 

'historically possible' which leaves room for the unique: *It is a basic 
law of methodology not to permit the "firm letter" to be broken down 
by any general hypothesis based on the comparative history of culture; 
as long as what is said in that text is historically possible.' By the 
'historically possible' Buber does not mean that which is merely not 
impossible but rather that which accords with the historical conditions 
of the epoch.^ 

Buber calls his treatment of Biblical history 'tradition criticism' as 
distinct from 'source criticism.' This tradition criticism seeks to pene- 
trate beneath the layers of different redactions of tradition to a central 
unity already present in the first redaction and developed, restored, or 
distorted in the later ones. It is important in this connection to distin- 
guish very clearly within each tradition between its fundamental unity 
and the unity of harmonization, fruit of the 'Biblical' spirit, 'between 
saga produced near the historical occurrences, the character of which is 
enthusiastic report, and saga which is further away from the historical 
event, and which derives from the tendency to complete and round off 
what is already given.' Even in the work of harmonization, however, 
there may be found the influence of a primitive unity, preserved in the 
memory of generations in spite of different editorial tendencies.^ 

Tradition is by its nature an uninterrupted change in form; 
change and preservation function in the identical current. Even 
while the hand makes its alterations, the ear hearkens to the deeps 
of the past; not only for the reader but also for the writer himself 
does the old serve to legitimize the new.^ 

The mythical element may, of course, become so strong that the kernel 
of historical memory tends to be obscured. Where event and memory 
cease to rule, myth replaces them by a timeless image. This weakening 
of the bond with history tends, in particular, to be the case with eschat- 
ology, which misses the special, concrete, historical core. This retreat 
from the historical itself tends to be expressed in myth. 'In so far as 
faith expresses more and other than its actual relation to the divine, in 
so far as it wishes to report and describe and not merely call and address, 
to that extent it must mythicize its object.' * 

The Bible as 'literal truth' and the Bible as 'living literature' are thus 
supplanted in Buber's thought by the Bible as a record of the concrete 
meetings in the course of history between a group of people and the 
divine. The Bible is not primarily devotional literature, nor is it a 

^ Moses, pp. 35, 64, 136, 158; Konigtum Gottes, p. 11. 
2 The Prophetic Faith, p. 6 f.; Moses, p. 18 f. 

* Moses, p. 18. 

* Konigtum Gottes, p. 120 ff. (my translations). Cf. TTie Prophetic Faith, pp. 142, 
153; Moses, p. 109. 


Symbol, Myth, and History 
symbolic theology which tells us of the nature of God as He is in Him- 
self. It is *anthropogeny,' the historical account of God's relation to 
man seen through man's eyes.^ 

Buber does not regard his concept of history as applying only to 
Biblical history but merely as most clearly in evidence there. 

What we are accustomed to call history is from the Biblical stand- 
point only the facade of reality. It is the great failure, the refusal to 
enter into the dialogue, not the failure in the dialogue, as exempli- 
fied by Biblical man.^ 

Outer history sees only success. Inner history knows that *the way, the 
real way, from the Creation to the Kingdom is trod not on the surface 
of success but in the deep of failure.' It is the unrecorded and anony- 
mous work of the secret leadership, the work which leads to the final, 
Messianic overcoming of history in which outer history and inner 
history will fuse. Since world history is the advance of the peoples 
toward the goal of making real the kingship of God, it is essentially 
holy history. Every great civilization is founded on an original relational 
event, writes Buber, a concrete religious and normative relation with 
the Absolute. Man rebels against this relation: *he wills and wills not 
to translate the heavenly truth into earthly reality.' It is here in this 
struggle of man with the spirit that great civilizations rise, and it is this 
which determines all their wisdom and their art.^ 

History is customarily understood as an interrelation of events none 
of which are significant in themselves but only in terms of their connec- 
tion with the past from which they spring and the future to which they 
give rise. Even when a great emphasis is placed upon the richness of 
historical fact, these facts are usually felt to be significant only as 
expressions of historical trends or of periods of culture. As a result 
^meaning' in history tends to be associated with the universal and the 
general to the exclusion of the particular and the unique. The modern 
historian, as Friedrich Gogarten has pointed out, sees history as a linear 
process of evolution, comparable to the flow of experience reflected in 
the consciousness of the unrelated I. This historical evolutionism is a 

^ Israel and the World, 'The Man of Today and the Jewish Bible,' pp. 89, 92 f.; 
The Prophetic Faith, p. 89. 

2 Ibid., 'Biblical Leadership,' p. 133; cf. ibid., 'The Man of Today and the Jewish 
Bible,' p. 94 f., 'False Prophets,' p. 114. 

3 Ibid., 'BibUcal Leadership,' pp. 124-133, 'In the Midst of History,' p. 78 ff.; 
At the Turning, op. cit., 'Judaism and Civilization,' p. 1 1 f., 'The Dialogue between 
Heaven and Earth,' p. 51. Cf. Eclipse of God, 'Religion and Ethics.' The American 
theologian H. Richard Niebuhr takes an attitude toward history closely similar to 
that of Buber, and he identifies his distinction between 'objective, external his- 
tory' and the personal, or 'internal,' history of revelation with Ruber's distinc- 
tion between I-It and I-Thou. H. Richard Niebuhr, The Meaning of Revelation 
(New York: The Macmillan Co., 1941), pp. 59, 64 f., 145 ff. 


Between Man and God 
distortion of reality whether it leans toward the idealist side and empha- 
sizes the suprahistorical meaning which is revealed in history or toward 
the empirical side and emphasizes the never-ceasing flow and relativity 
of all events. In both cases it takes no account of the prior reality of the 
I-Thou relation — the dialogue between man and man and between man 
and God. Hence it can never know the event in its uniqueness and 
particularity, nor can it really know the extent to which the future is 
determined by man's genuine response and his failure to respond to 
what meets him.^ 

Subject-object history cannot adequately understand events because 
the I of the historian is that of the disinterested spectator while the 
persons whom he describes are usually treated as Its rather than as 
Thous. I-It history, moreover, takes only the human, immanent side 
of events into consideration. No room is left for the *wonder' which 
arises when the encounter with the Thou in the world is perceived to 
be not only an event within a causal nexus but a meeting with God. The 
worship of historical process, the identification of history with success, 
is a part of that shell of impersonality which enables men to remain 
unaware of *the signs' which address them through history as well as 
through the other parts of their lives. True history, in contrast, can only 
be understood through our participation in it — through its becoming 
alive for us as Thou. 'If history is a dialogue between Deity and man- 
kind,' writes Buber, *we can understand its meaning only when we are 
the ones who are addressed, and only to the degree to which we render 
ourselves receptive.' 

We are, then, flatly denied the capacity to judge current history 
and arrive at the conclusion that 'This or that is its true meaning' 
. . . What we are permitted to know of history comes to this : 'This, 
in one way or another, is history's challenge to me; this is its claim 
on me; and so this is its meaning as far as I am concerned.' This 
meaning, however, is not 'subjective.' ... It is the meaning I 
perceive, experience, and hear in reality. ... It is only with my 
personal life that I am able to catch the meaning of history, for it 
is a dialogical meaning.^ 

1 Gogarten, Ich glaube an den dreieinigen Gott, pp. 5, 9, 19-38. In his 'Nachwort' 
to Die Schriften uber das dialogische Prinzip Buber points out that although Gogarten 
understands history as 'the meeting of Thou and I,' he holds at the same time the 
undialectical thesis, 'History is God's work,' and thus must ultimately fail to grasp 
the character of history as meeting. 

2 Israel and the World, 'In the Midst of History,' pp. 78-82. 



Buber's philosophy of dialogue has been of particular importance 
in the Biblical interpretation with which he has been mainly con- 
cerned in his later years. One of the most significant of his Biblical 
works is his translation of the Hebrew Bible into German with the aid 
of his friend Franz Rosenzweig. The Buber-Rosenzweig translation of 
the Bible, according to Solomon Liptzin, *has been universally ac- 
claimed as a miracle of fidelity and beauty.' Ernest M. Wolf has 
explained this translation as an attempt to reproduce in the German 
some of the basic linguistic features of Hebrew. 'The result of their 
endeavour was the creation of a new Biblical idiom in German which 
followed the original meaning of the Hebrew more faithfully than any 
other German translation — or any translation in any other language — 
had ever done.' The translation is set in the form of cola (Atemzuge) — 
rhythmic units based on natural breathing pauses. These serve the 
purpose of recapturing the original spoken quality of the Bible. ^ 

This translation was accompanied by a volume in which Buber and 
Rosenzweig explained the new principles of translation that they used.^ 
Both the translation and the new methods helped to produce a renais- 
sance of Bible study among German-speaking Jews. 

Had the generation of young Jews that went through the Buber- 
Rosenzweig school of Bible reading and Bible interpreting been 

^ Solomon Liptzin, Germany's Stepchildren (Philadelphia: The Jewish Publication 
Society, 1944), p. 256; Ernest M. Wolf, 'Martin Buber and German Jewry, Prophet 
and Teacher to a Generation in Catastrophe,* Judaism, Vol. I, No. 4 (October 
1952), p. 349; Walter Nigg, Martin Buber s Weg in unserer Zeit, first issue of Religiose 
Gegenwartsfragen, Bausteine zu einem kommenden Protestantismus, ed. by Josef 
Boni and Walter Nigg (Bern: Verlag Paul Haupt, 1940), pp. 21-25; Franz 
Rosenzweig, 'Die Schrift und das Wort,' in Martin Buber and Franz Rosenzweig, 
Die Schrift und ihrer Verdeutschung (Berlin: Schocken Verlag, 1936), pp. 76-87. 
For an unfavourable criticism of the Buber-Rosenzweig translation see Emanuel 
bin Gorion (Emanuel Berdyczwesky), Ceterum Recenseo. Kritische Aufsdtze und 
Reden (Tubingen: Alexander Fischer Verlag, 1939), pp. 21-38. 

2 Die Schrift und ihrer Verdeutschung, op. cit. 


Between Man and God 
permitted to grow up and to remain together, they would probably 
have become the most Bible-conscious Jews since the days before 
the ghetto-walls had fallen in Europe.^ 

Despite the pressing demands on his time, Buber has succeeded in 
carrying out his original plan of tracing the development of the 
Messianic idea from the earliest periods of the Hebrew Bible through 
Jesus and Paul. The volumes of Biblical interpretation in which he has 
traced this development— Xo/j/g/wm Gottes, Moses, The Prophetic Faith, 
Two Types of Faith, Right and Wrong, and the first section of Israel and 
Palestine— consthutQ an extremely significant and creative contribution 
to the field of Biblical scholarship. Commenting on Buber's translation 
of the Bible and on his Biblical criticism in Konigtum Gottes, the Old 
Testament scholar Ludwig Feuchtwanger writes: 

The new total viewpoint of Buber's science of Biblical study has 
without question created a new situation in Old Testament scholar- 
ship. For the first time there has arisen a real Jewish critical study 
of the Bible — Jewish and critical at once — which does not allow 
its way to be dictated to it by foreign tendencies.^ 


God created man through love, says Buber, as a Thou for His I, an 
I for His Thou. He created man as a free being because He wished to 
be freely known, willed, and loved. The action of creation goes on 
incessantly, for God incessantly calls man and the world into being. 
Every person in the world represents something original, unique, and 
unrepeatable. Despite all analysis into elements and all attempts to 
explain the origin of personality, every man must in the end recognize 
in his personality an untouched residue, underived and underivable. To 
seek the origin of this residue means in the final analysis to discover 
oneself as created. Though man's personality becomes a reality through 
the relation of the I to the human Thou, it is already potential in his 
created uniqueness, his relation to the eternal Thou. This uniqueness is 

1 Wolf, 'Martin Buber and German Jewry,' op. cit., p. 350. 

2 Ludwig Feuchtwanger, 'Bibelforschung aus jiidischem Geist, Martin Bubers 
Emeuerung der Bibel aus Geist des Judentums,' Der Morgen, Vol. VIII, No. 3 
(August 1932), p. 222 (my translation). See Karl Thieme, 'Martin Buber als Interpret 
der Bibel,' Zeitschrift fur Religions- und Geistesgeschichte (Koln), Vol. VI, No. 1 
(1954), pp. 1-9, and Hans-Joachim Kraus, 'Gesprach mit Martin Buber. Zur 
jiidischen und christlichen Auslegung des Alten Testaments,' Evangelische Theologie 
(Munich), Vol. XII, No. 1 /2 (July- August 1952), pp. 59-77, for two recent evaluations 
of Buber's interpretation of the Bible by Catholic and Protestant theologians 


The Faith of the Bible 

not given to man for mere existence but for the fulfilment of a purpose 
that only he can fulfil.^ 

Not only is there in everybody a divine particle, but there is in 
everybody one peculiar to him, to be found nowhere else. . . . 
Everyone has in the eyes of God a specific importance in the fulfil- 
ment of v^^hich none can compete with him.^ 

The mystery of our existence, the superhuman chance of mankind is 
that God places Himself in man's hands : He wants to come into the 
world through man. Man is the completor of God's creation and the 
initiator of His redemption.^ He has, accordingly, real freedom— the 
freedom of a separate person to go the way of his own personality, to 
do good and to do evil. 

Man, while created by God, was established by Him in an in- 
dependence which has since remained undiminished. In this 
independence he stands over against God. So man takes part with 
full freedom and spontaneity in the dialogue between the two 
which forms the essence of existence. That this is so despite God's 
unlimited power and knowledge is just that which constitutes the 
mystery of man's creation.^ 

If man's redemptive movement toward God is to be real, so also must 
his fall away from God be real. But this does not mean that an inherited 
*original sin' is able to remove inamediacy between God and man. Man 
sins as Adam sinned and not because he sinned. Although he is in- 
creasingly burdened by history, he is always capable of proving true 
before God.^ 

Man's freedom properly understood is not freedom from external 
limitations but freedom, despite these limitations, to enter into dialogue 
with God. This dialogue is implicit, as we have seen, in God's very 
creation of man. 'The creation itself already means communication 
between Creator and creature.' ® In contrast to the customary view that 
it is monotheism which is the contribution of Judaism to the religions 

^ Hasidism, op. cit., 'Spirit and Body of the Hasidic Movement,' pp. 64-68, 'God 
and the Soul,' pp. 155-158; The Prophetic Faith, op. cit., p. 195; The Way of Man, 
op. cit., p. 17; Israel and the World, op. cit., 'The Man of Today and the Jewish 
Bible,' p. 100; Images of Good and Evil, op. cit., p. 82 f. 

2 Hasidism, 'Love of God and Love of One's Neighbour,' p. 178 f. 

5 Ibid., 'God and the Soul,' p. 158; / and Thou, p. 82; Eclipse of God, op. cit., 
'Religion and Modern Thinking,' p. 100 f.; Images of Good and Evil, p. 82 f.; The 
Way of Man, p. 44 f, 

* Eclipse of God, 'Religion and Ethics,' p. 138. 

* Images of Good and Evil, pp. 36-40; Hasidism, 'Spinoza,' p. 109; The Prophetic 
Faith, p. 210; Two Types of Faith, pp. 136 f., 158. 

* The Prophetic Faith, p. 195. 


Between Man and God 
of the world, Buber regards the dialogue with God as the centre and 
significance of the Jewish religion. 

The great achievement of Israel is not so much that it has told 
man of the one, real God, the origin and goal of all that exists, but 
rather that it has taught men that they can address this God in very 
reality, that men can say Thou to Him, that we human beings can 
stand face to face with Him, that there is conununion between God 
and man.^ 

This communion between God and man implies partnership and 
nearness, *but in everything which grows out of it an ultimate distance 
persists which is not to be overcome.' This absolute distance between 
God and man establishes the unconditional in man's relation with God 
and at the same time discloses the place of redemption. Man remains 
utterly inferior and God utterly superior; yet if only man truly speaks 
to God, there is nothing he may not say.^ 

Again and again God addresses man and is addressed by him. 
... To God's sovereign address, man gives his autonomous answer; 
if he remains silent, his silence is an answer, too. . . . The basic 
doctrine which fills the Hebrew Bible is that our life is a dialogue 
between the above and the below.^ 

Man must enter into this dialogue with his whole being : it must be 
*an exclusive relationship which shapes all other relations and therefore 
the whole order of life.' This exclusiveness demands a ^religious reahsm,' 
a will to realization of one's belief in the whole of one's existence, that 
cannot be present in a polytheism which sees a different God in each 
phenomenon of life. The man in the Israelite world who has faith is not 
distinguished from the "heathen" by a more spiritual view of the God- 
head, but by the exclusiveness of his relationship to God and by his 
reference of all things to Him.' * This exclusiveness makes it impossible 
to allow any part of one's life to remain a sphere separate from God, 
and it makes it necessary to recognize God as He is, and that is as not 
limited to any one form, image, or manifestation. The exclusive Thou 
of prayer and devotion is the imageless God, who cannot be confined 
to any outward form.^ This reality of faith and life is restricted, says 
Buber, by those Christians who leave God open to human address only 
in conjunction with Christ. Although imageless in religious idea, the 

^ Hasidism, 'Spinoza,' p. 96. 

^ Two Types of Faith, p. 9; Images of Good and Evil, p. 20; Between Man and 
Man, The Question to the Single One,' p. 77; The Prophetic Faith, p. 164 f. 
' At the Turning, op. cit., p. 47 f, 

* Konigtum Gottes, op. cit., p. 91 f.; Two Types of Faith, p. 39. 
^ Moses, op. cit., p. 7 f.; Two Types of Faith, p. 130 f. 


The Faith of the Bible 
God of the Christian is imaged in actual experience. We have, indeed, 
the power to glance up to God with our being's eye, writes Buber; but 
this glance yields no images though it first makes all images possible. 
To identify God with one of the images that is thus produced is to allow 
the image to conceal the imageless One, and this means a limitation by 
man of the fullness of his dialogue with God.^ 


The Holy is not a separate and secluded sphere of being, writes Buber. 
It is open to all spheres of being and is that through which they find 
their fulfilment. 

The genuine life of faith develops on the spiritual heights, but it 

springs from the depths of the distress of the earth-bound body 

Wherever the action of nature as well as spirit is perceived as a gift, 
Revelation takes place. 

God may not be limited to the spiritual and the supersensual. Not only 
does His imagelessness not prevent Him from manifesting Himself in 
the visible world, but it is just this imagelessness which makes His 
manifestation possible: *He is the history God which He is, only when 
He is not localized in Nature; and precisely because He makes use of 
everything potentially visible in Nature, every kind of natural existence, 
for His manifestation.' ^ God pushes through nature and history to 
that earthly consummation in which spirit and nature will be unified, 
the profane sanctified, the kingdom of God established out of the king- 
dom of man, and all of time and creation drawn back into eternity. 

There is not one realm of the spirit and another of nature ; there 
is only the growing realm of God. God is not spirit, but what we 
call spirit and what we call nature hail equally from the God who is 
beyond and equally conditioned by both, and whose kingdom 
reaches its fulness in the complete unity of spirit and nature.^ 

The corollary of this unity of spirit and nature is the belief that there 
is no essential difference between natural events and 'miracles.' Any 
natural event may be revelation for him who understands the event as 
really addressing him and is able to read its meaning for his personal 
life. In the same way, *miracle' to Buber is neither an objective event 
which suspends the laws of nature and history nor a subjective act of 

^ Two Types of Faith, p. 131 f.; Hasidism, 'Spinoza,' p. 96 f. 

2 Israel and Palestine, op. cit., pp. 149, 26, 40; Eclipse of God, 'Religion and 
Reality,' p. 32; Two Types of Faith, p. 39; Moses, pp. 194, 127. 

^ Israel and the World, 'Biblical Leadership,' p. 131, 'The Two Foci of the Jewish 
Soul,* p. 34. 


Between Man and God 

the imagination. It is an event which is experienced by an individual or 
a group of people as an abiding astonishment which no knowledge of 
causes can weaken, as wonder at something which intervenes fatefully 
in the life of this individual and this group. The current system of cause 
and effect becomes transparent so that one is allowed a glimpse of the 
sphere in which a sole power, not restricted by any other, is at work. 
'To recognize this power on every given occasion as the effecting one . . . 
is religion generally as far as it is reality.' ^ 

The God of spirit and nature is also the God of history. The promise 
of the land to the people of Israel is the promise of a work of com- 
munity which land and people must undertake in common, and as such 
it is at once a work of history and nature. History, however, is pre- 
dominant, for history includes nature. Tn the biblical, which is a history 
religion . . . there is no Nature in the Greek, the Chinese or the modern 
Occidental sense. What is shown us of Nature is stamped by History.' 
During the period of the Kings, the magnification of God into the 
Cosmic King made a symbolical allegiance to God seem satisfactory in 
the place of the allegiance in every sphere of life which is demanded by 
the Lord of history. God should indeed be recognized as Lord of the 
world, writes Buber, but not as removed to the far heavens, for the God 
of the universe is the God of history who walks with His creatures along 
the hard way of history. ^ 

Although in the biblical view nature ultimately bears the stamp of 
history, it is necessary to distinguish between the way in which God 
reveals Himself in these two spheres. The self-communication of God 
through nature is indirect, impersonal, and continuous, while that 
through history is direct, personal, and discontinuous. It is the creating 
God who uninterruptedly speaks in nature, but in history it is the 
revealing God who speaks, and His revelation 'breaks in again and 
again upon the course of events and irradiates it.' Following the Maggid 
of Mesritch, Buber distinguishes between the original Godhead, which 
desires to impart Itself directly, and Elohim, the impersonal spirit of 
God working through creation. God's imparting of Himself to man 
starts as indirect through nature and becomes more and more direct 
until man is led to meet YHVH Himself, who is at one and the same 
time the complete unity and the limitless person. It is this limitless 
original Godhead, and not the self-limited God, that speaks the I of 

It is this second, 'gracious and unforeseeable,' form of spirit through 

1 Israel and the World, 'The Man of Today and the Jewish Bible,' p. 97 f. • 
Moses, p. 75 ff. Cf. For the Sake of Heaven, op. cit., p. 112. 

2 Israel and Palestine, pp. x-xii, 9 f., 14, 19; Konigtum Gottes, p. 85; Moses, 
pp. 78 f., 158; 77i^ Prophetic Faith, pp. 85 f., 94. 

3 At the Turning, p. 57 f.; Hasidism, 'God and the Soul,' pp. 153-156. 


The Faith of the Bible 
which God reveals Himself to man in history. Here we come to know 
God not only as a revealing God but also as 'a God who hides Himself,* 
for there are times when God's revelation in history seems clear and 
unmistakable and others when He seems absent altogether. Just as 
God's imagelessness is necessary that He may manifest Himself in any 
form, so His hiding is necessary that He may reveal Himself. 

God ever gives Himself to be seen in the phenomena of nature 
and history and remains invisible. That He reveals Himself and 
that He 'hides Himself (Isa. xlv, 15) belong indivisibly together; 
but for His concealment His revelation would not be real and 
temporal. Therefore He is imageless ; an image means fixing to one 
manifestation, its aim is to prevent God from hiding Himself, He 
may not be allowed any longer to be present as the One Who is 
there as He is there (Exod. iii, 14). 

Christianity aims, in effect, to prevent God from hiding Himself, says 
Buber, in so far as it fixes Him in the image of Christ.^ 

In his concept of revelation Buber combines the meeting of I and 
Thou with the idea of 'momentary Gods' which Usener has presented 
as characteristic of the most primitive stage of mythical thinking. God 
does not arise for us out of inherited tradition, writes Buber, but out 
of the fusion of a number of 'moment Gods.' If we are addressed by the 
signs of life, we cannot say that he who speaks is God if we do not reply 
'out of that decisive hour of personal existence when we had to forget 
everything we imagined we knew of God, when we dared to keep 
nothing handed down or learned or self-contrived, no shred of know- 
ledge, and were plunged into the night.' What we can know of God in 
such an experience is only what we experience from the signs themselves, 
so that the speaker of the speech 'is always the God of a moment, a 
moment God.' But as one comes to know the poet through the separate 
experience of a number of poems, so 'out of the givers of the signs, the 
speakers of the words in lived life, out of the moment Gods there arises 
for us with a single identity the Lord of the voice, the One.' ^ Not only 
does our world of It experience ever new creation through the flaming 
forth of the Thou, but each new Thou renews in all presentness the past 
experiences of Thou. It is this which is the essence of faith : not the past 
deadening the present, but the present recalling the past to life so that 
the moments of the past and the moment of the present become 
simultaneously present and joined in living unity. 

In / and Thou Buber wrote of revelation as not imparting any specific 
'content' but a Presence as power. 'The Word of revelation is / am that 
I am.'' In Konigtum Gottes and in Moses Buber rejects 'I am that I am' 

1 At the Turning, p. 58; Two Types of Faith, p. 130 f. 

2 Between Man and Man, op. cit., p. 14 f. 


Between Man and God 
for *I shall be there as I shall be there.' When Moses at the burning bush 
asks God His name, he is told: 'Ehyeh asher ehyeh.' This is usually 
understood to mean "I am that I am" in the sense that YHVH describes 
himself as the Being One or even the Everlasting One, the one unalter- 
ably persisting in his being.' The Biblical verb does not include this shade 
of meaning of pure being. 'It means happening, coming into being, being 
there, being present . . . but not being in an abstract sense.' ^ God 
promises that He will always be present, but not in any known or 
expected form. He identifies Himself only as the Presence which comes 
and departs, as the imageless God who hides and reveals Himself. 

The true meaning of YHVH, the inherited divine name, is unfolded 
in the ehyeh asher ehyeh : YHVH is He who is present in every now and 
in every here. And in order to make clear that the direct verb explains 
the indirect name, Moses is first instructed to tell the people 'Ehyeh, I 
shall be present, or I am present, sends me to you,' and immediately 
afterwards: *YHVH the God of your fathers sends me to you.' ^ Thus 
Moses at the burning bush clearly experiences the identity of the God 
whom he meets in the full and timeless present with the God of tradition 
revealed in time. He recognizes the God of the fathers as the eternal 
Thou, and he understands the present revelation of God as the assurance 
of His future presence. 

Revelation is thus man's encounter with God's presence rather than 
information about His essence. Buber rejects the either-or of revelation 
as objective or subjective in favour of the understanding of revelation 
as dialogical. To be revelation and not juit literature it must come from 
outside man, but that does not mean that man has no part in the form 
which it takes. 

My own belief in revelation . . . does not mean that I believe that 
finished statements about God were handed down from heaven to 
earth. Rather it means that the human substance is melted by the 
spiritual fire which visits it, and there now breaks forth from it a 
word, a statement, which is human in its meaning and form, human 
conception and human speech, and yet witnesses to Him who 
stimulated it and to His will. We are revealed to ourselves — and 
cannot express it otherwise than as something revealed.^ 

Before the word is spoken to man in human language, it is spoken to 
him in another language, from which he has to translate it into human 
language. He does not convey a finished speech but shapes to sound a 

1 / and Thou, op. cit., p. 110 ff.; Moses, op. cit., pp. 51 f., 160; Konigtum Gottes, 
op. cit., p. 83 ff. 

^ Moses, op. cit., pp. 49-53. 

' Eclipse of God, op. cit., 'Supplement: Reply to C. G. Jung/ trans, by Maurice S. 
Friedman, p. 173. 


The Faith of the Bible 

hidden, soundless speech. But this does not mean that he translates 
subjective emotions into objective speech and then pretends to have the 
word of God. The word is spoken to him as between person and person, 
and he must be in the full sense of the word a person before God can 
speak to him.^ 

The anthropomorphism of the Hebrew Bible serves a valid purpose 
in preserving the concrete quality of the encounter with the divine. In 
the encounter itself 'we are confronted by something compellingly 
anthropomorphic, something demanding reciprocity, a primary Thou.' 
We owe to anthropomorphism the two great concepts of YHVH's 
divine love for Israel and of His fatherhood. In the Hebrew Bible God 
is not seen in Himself but in His relation to man, and His revelation 
changes according to the historical situation. In the pre-exilic period 
God addressed individuals as members of the people into which they 
were incorporated and from which they were undetachable. The Ten 
Commandments were addressed to a single Thou rather than a collec- 
tive You, yet to every individual as a part of the nation in which he was 
embedded. Only later in history when the individual discovers and 
becomes aware of himself does God speak to him as such.^ 

The differences between the prophets, similarly, arise from the fact 
that each prophet discovered the divine demand meant by his particular 
historic situation. What is essential in prophecy is that it be based on 
the reality of history as it is happening and that its tie with this situation 
reach to the secret ground of creation in which existence is rooted. 
Jeremiah attacks the dogmatics of a guardian deity during a situation 
of false security, and Deutero-Isaiah opposes the dogmatics of a 
punishing deity during a situation of adversity. 'Both prophesy so for 
the sake of the covenant between godhead and manhood, for the sake 
of the kingdom of God.' ^ 

The prophets sought God to 'know' Him, to be in direct contact with 
Him, and not in order to hear future things. Even their predictions of 
the future were for the sake of the present, that the people might turn 
again to the way of God. The pure prophets are distinguished from the 
apocalyptic ones, as from the seers and diviners of other religions, by 
the fact that they did not wish to peep into an already certain and 
immutable future but were concerned only with the full grasping of the 
present, actual and potential. Their prophecy was altogether bound up 
with the situation of the historical hour and with God's direct speaking 

1 The Prophetic Faith, op. cit., p. 164 f.; Hasidism, op. cit., 'Symbolical Existence 
in Judaism,' pp. 119-129; The Prophetic Faith, op. cit., pp. 110-113. 

2 Eclipse of God, op. cit., 'Religion and Reality,' p. 22 f.; Moses, op. cit., pp. 160, 
194; The Prophetic Faith, op. cit., p. 89; At the Turning, op. cit., 'The Silent Question,' 
p. 37 f. 

3 Ibid., op. cit., pp. 43 f., 49, 178, 182 f.; Konigtum Gottes, op. cit., pp. 150-153; 
Moses, op. cit., p. 131. 


Between Man and God 
in it. They recognized the importance of man's decision in determining 
the future and therefore rejected any attempts to treat the future as if 
it were simply a fixed past which had not yet unfolded. Their attitude 
corresponds to the basic Biblical view that man is set in real freedom in 
order that he may enter the dialogue with God and through this dialogue 
take part in the redemption of the world.^ 

Even when the prophet announced an unconditional disaster, this 
announcement contained a hidden alternative. By the announcement 
the people were driven into despair, and it was just this despair which 
touched their innermost soul and evoked the turning to God by which 
they were saved. The false prophets tell the people what they wish to 
hear. They set up *over against the hard divine word of demand and 
judgment the easy word of a pseudo-deity . . . who is ready to help 
unconditionally.' The true prophets, in contrast, present the hard 
demand of God in this historic situation without weakening or com- 
promise. And God does not lighten the choice between the hard truth 
and the easy fraud. He speaks to the people only in the language of 
history and in such a way that they can explain what happened as the 
coincidence of adverse circumstances. This God makes it burdensome 
for the believer and light for the unbeliever; and His revelation is 
nothing but a different form of hiding His face.' ^ 

*Our path in the history of faith is not a path from one kind of deity 
to another, but in fact a path from the "God Who hides Himself" 
(Isa. xlv, 15) to the One that reveals Himself.' Amos's 'righteousness,' 
Hosea's hesed, or *lovingkindness,' and Isaiah's 'holiness' represent 
three important developments of the meaning of the divine kingship for 
the Ufe of the conmiunity. All three are ways of imitating God for the 
sake of His work. 

In one generation Israel's faith developed these three basic 
concepts of the relationship to God, and only all together could 
express what is meant by the being present of the One Who is 
present to Israel, Who is 'with it.' The name YHVH was unravelled 
at the revelation to Moses in the thorn bush; in the revelation to 
three prophets it has been unfolded.^ 

This unfolding does not eliminate the periods of terror when God seems 
to withdraw from the world or the periods of insecurity when inherited 
conceptions of God are tested and found inadequate. The faith relation- 
ship has to stand the test of an utterly changed situation, and it must 
be renewed in a modified form. The force of extreme despair results in 
a new pondering of dogmatic conceptions which will either result in the 

1 The Prophetic Faith, pp. 103 f., 116, 175 f.; /i/ the Turning, p. 54. 

2 Ibid., pp. 104, 175-179; At the Turning, p. 54 f. 

3 Ibid., pp. 44, 101 f., 114 f., 128 f. 


The Faith of the Bible 

sapping of the last will to live or the renewal of the soul. Emunah, the 
faith of the Hebrew Bible, is a trust in the faithfulness of God despite 
His different manifestations in different historic situations.^ 

The midpoint between creation and redemption is not the revelation 
at Sinai or at the burning bush but the present perceiving of revelation, 
and such perception is possible at any time. What is given to an indivi- 
dual in this present moment leads to the understanding of the great 
revelations, but the vital fact is one's own personal receiving and not 
what was received in former times. 'At all times,' writes Buber, *only 
those persons really grasped the Decalogue who literally felt it as having 
been addressed to themselves.' We must feel creation, revelation, and 
redemption as happening to ourselves before we can understand them 
in the Bible. In our meeting with God in the daily events of life we 
experience all three: knowledge of our origin, awareness of His presence, 
and the touch of His saving hand in our darkest hour.^ 

The Bible has, in the form of a glorified memory, given vivid, 
decisive expression to an ever-recurrent happening. In the infinite 
language of events and situations, eternally changing, but plain to 
the truly attentive, transcendence speaks to our hearts at the 
essential moments of personal life. . . . This fundamental interpre- 
tation of our existence we owe to the Hebrew Bible; and whenever 
we truly read it, our self-understanding is renewed and deepened.^ 


The Biblical dialogue between God and man finds its most significant 
expression in the concept of the kingship of God. Buber's work of 
Biblical interpretation, accordingly, is principally devoted to tracing 
the development of this idea from its earliest expression in the tribal 
God, or Melekh, to its sublimest development in 'the God of the 

The Israelite Melekh, the God who led Abraham in his wanderings, 
differs from other gods of the way in that He does not serve the purposes 
of the people by leading them to a place that they know and wish to go 
to. Instead He drives them to do the uncustomary, the untraditional — 
to overcome enmity of clan and tribe and unite into one people, to take 
the unbeaten path into the land He has chosen for them.^ The people 
of Israel recognize YHVH as their Melekh, their King, and they recog- 
nize themselves as chosen by Him. This does not mean that He is their 

1 The Prophetic Faith, op. cit., pp. 44, 183; Two Types of Faith, op. cit., p. 34. 

2 Moses, op. cit., p. 130; Israel and the World, op. cit.. The Man of Today and 
the Jewish Bible,' pp. 94 f., 98-102. 

3 At the Turning, op. cit.. The Dialogue between Heaven and Earth,' p. 49 f. 

* Ibid., p. 68; Moses, op. cit., p. 125 f.; Israel imd Paldstifia, p. 38. Cf. Israel and 
Palestine, p. 21. 


Between Man and God 

God in the sense that He belongs to them or they in any way possess 
Him. He whom heaven itself cannot contain (I Kings viii, 27) belongs 
to no people or place. Yet at the very time when it becomes necessary 
to destroy Israel's illusion that it has a monopoly on its God, at the 
time when it becomes unmistakably clear that YHVH is not the God 
of a tribe, even then and just then He is proclaimed as God of the tribe 
for ever and ever, as the God who liberated the people from Egypt and 
brought them forth to the land.^ The one God, the God of heaven and 
earth, is the king whose kingship the people must make real through 
themselves becoming a holy people, a people who bring all spheres of 
life under His rule. 

The time when this recognition of God's kingship takes place is that 
of the Covenant at Mount Sinai. This covenant between God and the 
people of Israel is not a contract, as is sometimes thought. It *means no 
legal agreement, but a surrender to the divine grace and power.' Not 
only is it unique among all religions, says Buber, but even in the Old 
Testament itself there is no analogy to it : 'Only in the Sinai Covenant 
. . . does an action take place which sacramentally founds a reciprocity 
between an Above and a Below' This reciprocity is a free action, a 
*choice' by both YHVH and the people. Israel cannot be understood 
as merely YHVH's congregation of faith nor YHVH simply as Israel's 
protector God. This reciprocal choice entails an active *over-againstness' 
of the two partners such as is impossible in the magical view in which 
the divine side remains passive and in the ordinary sacramental view in 
which the human remains passive.^ 

The Sinai Covenant is not to be understood as a limitation in the 
essence of God, as if He were somehow less absolute for having entered 
into it. Like His revelation to Moses, it says only that He, the hiding 
and revealing God, will be present with the people in the future, that 
He will be there as He will be there. It does not mean that Israel is in 
some way dearer to God than other peoples. Israel is chosen only to 
fulfil a charge, to become a *holy people.' Until this charge is fulfilled 
the choice exists only negatively. When the people are unfaithful, God 
says to them through His prophet, 'You are not my people and I am 
not ehyeh ("I am present") for you.' ^ God's demand that Israel become 
'a holy people' means the spontaneous and ever-renewed act whereby 
the people dedicate themselves to YHVH with their corporeal national 
existence, their legal forms and institutions, their internal and external 
relationships, the whole factuality of worldly life. The 'religious' and the 

1 Konigtum Gottes, op. cit., pp. 73, 81 (my translation). 

2 The Prophetic Faith, op. cit., p. 51; Konigtum Gottes, op. cit., pp. 111-119; 
Eclipse of God, op. cit., 'Religion and Ethics,' p. 136. 

^ Konigtum Gottes, op. cit., p. 115 f.; At the Turning, op. cit., 'Judaism and 
Civilization,' p. 14; Moses, op. cit., pp. 103, 105, 53 f. 


The Faith of the Bible 
'sociar are here closely connected, for Israel cannot become the people 
of YHVH without just faith between men. The direct relation of each 
of the children of Israel to YHVH makes them equal to one another 
and makes their duties to each other duties to YHVH as well.^ 

After Moses, the most serious attempt to realize the kingship of God 
was in the period of the judges. The judge judged not as an appointed 
official but as one who remained in direct relation to the spirit as an 
open receiver. There is no security of power here, only the streams of a 
fullness of power which presents itself and withdraws. In the absence 
of any means for succession other than the recognition of someone 
possessing charisma, there comes to the front what Buber calls the 
'paradox of all original and direct theocracy.' The very absence of re- 
straint and compulsion which enables the men of faith to wait for the 
grace which they wish to follow enables those without faith not to 
follow anyone. The highest binding cannot by its very nature make use 
of any compulsion; it calls for a perfected community based on 
spontaneity. But this trust in spontaneity may lead in the end to an 
anarchy passionately sanctioned in the name of the freedom of God. 
This paradox is that of the kingship of God itself: it stands in the 
historical conflict between those who bear the message and those who 
resist it. It is the visible manifestation of the historical dialogue between 
the divinity that asks and mankind that refuses an answer yet also seeks 
one.^ This tragedy of the contradiction confronted not only Moses but 
also the judges, the prophets, the 'suffering servant,' and Jesus. 

The unity of spirit and law in the judge is succeeded by the king, 
who had security of power without spirit, and the prophet, who had 
spirit without power. The kings were commissioned by God and 
responsible to Him, but they tended to sublimate their responsibility into 
a divine right granted without obligation and to regard their anointing 
as demanding of them a merely cultic acknowledgment of YHVH's 
kingship. It is this failure of the kings in the dialogue with YHVH which 
resulted in the mission of the prophets. The 'theopolitical' realism of the 
prophets led them to reject any merely symbolic fulfilment of the divine 
commission, to fight the division of community life into a 'religious' 
realm of myth and cult and a 'political' realm of civic and economic 
laws. YHVH passes judgment on the nations not for their inquity 
against Him but for their iniquity against each other. He demands 
'righteousness' and 'justice' of the people for the sake of the completion 
of his work (Amos). He seeks not 'religion' but community.^ 

1 Konigtum Gottes, p. 106 f.; Moses, pp. 106 ff., 144; The Prophetic Faith, p. 55. 

2 Ibid., op. cit., pp. 3 f., 11 f., 31 f., 60, 106 f., 139 f., 143-146, 179-182; 2nd 
enlarged edition (Berlin: Schocken Verlag, 1936), p. xxvii; Moses, pp. 184-190. 

3 Ibid., op. cit., pp. 144, 175; Israel and the World, op. cit., 'Biblical Leadership,' 
129 f.; The Prophetic Faith, pp. 66 ff., 85 f., 97, 101 f., 152 f., 172. 


Between Man and God 

The God of Isaiah whom one knows to be Lord of all is not more 
spiritual or real than the God of the Covenant of whom one knows only 
that *He is King in Jeshurun,' for already He makes the unconditional 
demand of the genuine kingship. The way of the kingship is the way 
from failure to failure in the dialogue between the people and God. As 
the failure of the judge leads to the king and the failure of the king to 
the prophet, so the failure of the prophet in his opposition to the king 
leads to the conception of two new types of leader who will set the 
dialogue aright — the Messiah of YHVH and the 'suffering servant of 
the Lord.' ^ 

Isaiah's Messiah, or Tmmanuel,' is the anti-king, but he is not a 
spiritual anti-king, as many see it. He is the king of the remnant, from 
which the people will renew itself, and his Messianic kingship is a real 
theopolitical kingship endowed with political power for the realization 
of God's will for the peoples. 'Immanuel' is not simply a leader of the 
people of Israel nor is there any question of the sovereignty of Israel 
in the world. God leads all peoples to peace and freedom and demands 
that 'in freedom they shall serve him, as peoples, each in its own way 
and according to its own character.' The Messiah of Isaiah is the vice- 
regent who is to make God's leadership of the people real. 'He is 
anointed to set up with human forces and human responsibility the 
divine order of human community.' He is in no way divine or more 
than man; he is godlike as is the man in whom the likeness to the divine 
has unfolded. 'He is not nearer to God than what is appointed to man 
as man; ... he too stands before God in indestructible dialogue.' He 
does not take the place of man's turning or bring about a redemption 
which man has merely to accept and enter into. The 'Messianic'prophecy 
is no prediction of an already certain future : it too conceals an altern- 
ative, for there is something essential that must come from man. The 
belief in the coming of a Messianic leader is in essence the belief that at 
last man shall speak with his whole being the word that answers God's 
word. God awaits an earthly consummation, a consummation in and 
with mankind. The Messianic belief is 'the belief in the real leader, in 
the setting right of the dialogue, in God's disappointment being at an 
end.' 2 


Although YHVH's sovereignty in every field of life was proclaimed 
at the time of the Covenant, it was only by a long and slow process that 
men came to recognize God and His activity in the spheres which seemed 

^ Konigtum Gottes, op. cit., 89 f., 181 f.; Israel and the World, op. cit., 'Biblical 
Leadership,' pp. 124-133. 

2 The Prophetic Faith, op. cit., pp. 140-144, 151, 153 f.; Israel and the World, 
op. cit., 'Biblical Leadership,' p. 131. 


The Faith of the Bible 
necessarily foreign to Him. This difficulty is particularly strong in 
connection with those unusual events where men feel the presence of 
the demonic and the irrational, events that arouse terror, threaten 
security, and disturb faith. The Biblical concept of holiness is that of a 
power capable of exerting both a destructive and a hallowing effect. 
The encounter with this holiness is, therefore, a source of danger toman. 
As in the story of Jacob's wrestle with the angel, it is the perilous test 
that the wanderer must pass before he enjoys the final grace of God.^ 

The early stage of Israelite religion knows no Satan; if a power 
attacks a man and threatens him, it is proper to recognize YHVH 
in it or behind it, no matter how nocturnally dread and cruel it 
may be; and it is proper to withstand Him, since after all He does 
not require anything else of me than myself. 

In 'events of the night,' such as that in which the Lord met Moses and 
tried to kill him (Exod. iv, 24-26), Buber finds one of the deepest roots 
of Deutero-Isaiah's words (Isa. xlv, 7): 'Who makes peace and creates 
evil, I YHVH do all this.' ^ 

The danger is turned into a grace for those like Jacob and Moses 
who stand the test. This is the experience of Abraham too when God 
commands him to sacrifice Isaac. Like the despair which draws forth 
the 'turning,' the extremest demand here draws forth the innermost 
readiness to sacrifice out of the depths of Abraham's being. God thus 
allows Abraham's relation to Him to become wholly real. 'But then, 
when no further hindrance stood between the intention and the deed. 
He contented Himself with Abraham's fulfilled readiness and prevented 
the action.' This is what is called 'temptation' by the faith of the Old 
Testament, a faith which takes the over-againstness of God and man 
more seriously than does any other.^ 

Job's trial can also be understood as a 'temptation,' for God's 
apparent absence occasions a despair in Job which causes his innermost 
nature to become manifest. Through the intensity of his 'turning,' 
through his demand that God speak to him, he receives a revelation of 
God such as could not otherwise be his. It is 'just at the height of Job's 
trial . . . just in the midst of the terror of the other, the incomprehensible, 
ununderstandable works, just from out of the secret,' that God's ways 
of working are revealed. Job accuses God of injustice and tries in vain 
to penetrate to Him through the divine remoteness. Now God draws 
near Job and Job 'sees' Him. It is this nearness to God, following His 

^ The Prophetic Faith, op. cit., pp. 71, 52; Moses, op. cit., pp. 106, 118. . 

* Moses, p. 57 ff. 

3 Ibid., pp. 83, 118; The Prophetic Faith, op. cit., pp. 83, 91 f.; Konigtum Gottes, 
op. cit., pp. 99-104; Eclipse of God, op. cit., 'On the Suspension of the Ethical,' 
trans, by Maurice S. Friedman, p. 153. 


Between Man and God 

apparent hiddenness, which is God's answer to the suffering Job as to 
why he suffers — an answer which is understandable only in terms of 
the relationship itself.^ 

Job remained faithful even when God seemed to hide His face from 
him. He could not renounce his claim that his faith in God and his faith 
in justice should once again be united. ^ 

At all times in Israel people spoke much about evil powers, but 
not about one which, for longer than the purpose of temptation, 
was allowed to rule in God's stead; never, not even in the most 
deadly act of requital by God, is the bond of immediacy broken.^ 

God sets creation free and at the same time holds it. He does not put 
an end to man's freedom despite his misuse of it, but neither does He 
abandon him. Even God's hiding His face is only an apparent hiding 
which does not contradict the statement in / and Thou that only we, and 
not God, are absent. God does not actually withdraw His presence; He 
only seems to do so. Yet this must not be understood as a purely 
immanent event. It does not take place in man but between man and 
God. To those who do not want to be near to Him God replies by not 
giving to them any more the experience of nearness' (cf. Ps. x, 1; 
Jer. xxxi, 3). He lets the resisting experience his fate in history, the fate 
resulting from his own deeds.* 

God's anger and His seeming withdrawal are a part of His love for 
man — a love which wishes man to enter the dialogue with Him but will 
not compel him to do so. Hence there is no real division between God's 
mercy and His justice. God's wrath in the Old Testament is always a 
fatherly anger toward a disobedient child from whom He still does not 
withdraw His love. Although He may at times harden. He also forgives. 
Thus Amos knew that God would stay with the people in the midst of 
the desolation which was the work of His own judgment, and Hosea 
wrote of God's mercy, *I will heal their turnings away, I will love them 
freely.' ^ 

Jeremiah, like Amos and Hosea, recognized that both YHVH's 
blessing and His curse flow from His love. He also recognized that 
because of His love for man, God takes part in man's suffering. Whoever 
helps the suffering creature comes close to the Creator, writes Jeremiah. 

^ The first sentence of this paragraph is based on a letter from Professor Buber 
to me of June 18, 1952; Israel and the World, op. cit., 'Imitatio Dei,' p. 76; The 
Prophetic Faith, op. cit., pp. 192-196. 

* The Prophetic Faith, p. 192. 

^ Two Types of Faith, op. cit., p. 140. 

* Ibid., x>. \5\ t; I and Thou, op. cit., p. 99; The Prophetic Faith, op. cit., p. 94. 
The quotation and the sentence preceding it are from two letters from Professor 
Buber to me, both of June 18, 1952. 

' Ibid., pp. 90, 139, 164; The Prophetic Faith, pp. 109-113. 


The Faith of the Bible 
God shares in the trouble and suffering of His creature and even suffers 
by His own actions at the hour when He comes near to destroying the 
work of His hands. This *God of the sufferers' is also acknowledged by 
Deutero-Isaiah, who writes not only of the God of heaven and earth, 
who perceives and is above all, but also of the God who remains near 
the outcast, who dwells 'with the contrite and lowly of spirit.' ^ 

It is from among the 'lowly of spirit' that God finds His special 
servant in whom He is glorified. This is Deutero-Isaiah's 'suffering 
servant of the Lord,' the righteous man who suffers for the sake of God. 
Deutero-Isaiah's 'servant' stands in the succession of men whom God 
has designated as His servant — Abraham, Moses, David, Isaiah, and 
Job. Of these he is especially linked through his sufferings with Job, the 
'faithful rebel.' Like Job he experiences God's nearness in his suffering, 
and like Job, too, his suffering has a super-personal meaning. The 
'servant' differs from Job, however, in that he voluntarily takes on him- 
self all the griefs and sicknesses of the people's iniquities in order to 
bring them back to YHVH.^ In suffering for the sake of God he comes 
to discover the meaning of his own suffering : he recognizes that God 
suffers with him and that he is working together with God for the 
redemption of the world. In the figure of the servant the meaning of 
God's answer to Job becomes clear. 

Man penetrates step by step into the dark which hangs over the 
meaning of events, until the mystery is disclosed in the flash of light : 
the zaddik, the man justified by God, suffers for the sake of God 
and of His work of salvation, and God is with him in his suffering.^ 

The 'servant' is bowed down by sorrow, disfigured by disease, despised 
and shunned by the people. Yet it is just he who experiences God's 
nearness and receives God's promise that he will be preserved for the 
task of ushering in God's kingdom. 

Deutero-Isaiah's 'servant' cannot be identified either with Israel or 
with Christ. He is not a corporate but a personal being, yet he is more 
than a single person. 'This person takes shape in many likenesses and 
life-ways, the bearers of which are identical in their innermost essence.' 
But no supernatural event or resurrection of the dead leads from one of 
these figures to the next. The servant is 'preserved' for the day in which 
God's salvation shall be to the end of the earth, but it is only the 
'servant' who is preserved and not the person who embodies him at any 
particular time. 

There are three stages on the servant's way. The first is the prophetic 
stage of the futile labour of the prophet to bring Israel back to YHVH, 

1 The Prophetic Faith, pp. 161 flf., 167, 182 f. 

2 Ibid., pp. 181, 189, 196, 227, 232; Two Types of Faith, p. 143 f. 
^ Two Types of Faith, p. 144. 


Between Man and God 

the stage in which he sees himself as an arrow which is fated to remain 
in the quiver, hidden and unused (Isa. xlix, 2). He is promised a great 
future work reaching all nations and, sustained by this promise, is 
willing to bear an immense affliction for God's sake. The second stage 
is the acting of the affliction. He not only endures it but also, as it were, 
accomplishes it: it becomes his act. The third stage is that of the 'success' 
of the work born out of affliction, the liberation of the subject peoples, 
and the establishment of the covenant of the people with God, the 
human centre of which is the servant. Only now is the arrow taken from 
the quiver and hurled forth. It is laid on the servant to inaugurate God's 
new order of peace and justice for the world. 

The servant thus completes the work of the judges and the prophets, 
the work of making real God's kingship over the people. Though a 
prophet, he is no longer a powerless opposition to the powerful, but a 
real leader like the Israehte nabi of early times. Here, in contrast to the 
Messianic promise of Isaiah, it is not the king but the nabi who is 
appointed to be deputy of God's kingdom. This kingdom now signifies 
in reality all the human world. Yet there remains a special tie between 
the personal servant and the servant Israel. Through the nucleus that 
does not betray the election, the living connection between God and 
the people is upheld, and from their midst will arise *the perfected one.' 
Through his word and life, Israel will turn to God and become God's 
people. When the suffering servant is allowed to go up and be a light 
for the nations, the servant Israel, redeemed and cleansed, will establish 
God's sovereignty upon itself and serve as the beginning of His 

The unity between the personal servant and the servant Israel passes 
over to their unity in suffering. In so far as Israel's great suffering in the 
dispersion was willingly and actively borne, it is interpreted in the image 
of the servant. *The great scattering which followed the splitting-up of 
the state ... is endowed with the mystery of suffering as with the 
promise of the God of sufferers.' This is the mystery of history, the 
mystery of the arrow which is still concealed in the quiver.^ 

The way, the real way, from the Creation to the Kingdom is trod 
not on the surface of success, but in the deep of failure. The real 
work, from the Biblical point of view, is the late-recorded, the 
unrecorded, the anonymous work. The real work is done in the 
shadow, in the quiver. ^ 

'Whosoever accomplishes in Israel the active suffering of Israel, he is 
the servant, and he is Israel, in whom YHVH "glorifies Himself.'" Thus 
the ancient God of the way, the God who caused Abraham to 'stray' 

1 The Prophetic Faith, pp. llA-liA. 
^ Israel and the World, 'Biblical Leadership,' p. 133. 

The Faith of the Bible 
from his father's house and went before him in his wanderings, is 
acknowledged by suffering generations as their Shepherd in the way 
of exile.^ 

When one has given serious consideration to Buber*s Biblical exegesis, 
one is no longer tempted to fall into the easy assumption that Buber has 
read his dialogical philosophy into his interpretation of Biblical 
Judaism. It becomes clear instead that it is precisely in the Bible itself 
that Buber's dialogical philosophy finds its most solid base. Indeed, the 
full working out of this philosophy would not have been possible with- 
out the years that Buber spent in the translation and interpretation of 
the Bible. *Only a viewpoint that is Biblical in a very profound sense,' 
writes the Old Testament scholar J. Coert Rylaarsdam in a discussion 
of Buber's The Prophetic Faith, 'could so consistently illuminate every 
part of the Bible it touches.' ^ This does not exclude the obvious fact 
that there has been a fruitful dialectic in Buber's thought between his 
interpretations and the development of his personal philosophy. 'There 
are things in the Jewish tradition that I cannot accept at all,' Buber has 
said, 'and things I hold true that are not expressed in Judaism. But what 
I hold essential has been expressed more in Biblical Judaism than any- 
where else — in the Biblical dialogue between man and God.' ^ 

1 Hasidism, 'Spinoza,' p. 112 f.; The Prophetic Faith, p. 234 f. 

2 J. Coert Rylaarsdam, The Prophetic Faith,' Theology Today, Vol. VII (October 
1950), p. 399 ff. At the same time, Rylaarsdam accuses Buber of undue subjectivity: 
'Basically his interpretation of the Old Testament is a documentation of his own 
views. . . . Buber's work would have been more generally acceptable if he had more 
fully permitted objective historical reconstruction to perform an adequate critical 
function. Questions of literary criticism and history are frequently settled by a too 
easy reliance on the writer's a priori assumptions. . . . Buber's profound insights 
will be scorned by many on the ground that he is "uncritical" and "too philo- 
sophical".' That Rylaarsdam's criticism is in part, at least, based on a misunder- 
standing of Buber's position and a difference in Rylaarsdam's own a priori 
assumptions is shown by his further statements that 'Because of his individual and 
personal emphasis the notion of an objective revelation of God in nature and history 
involving the whole community of Israel in the real event of the Exodus does not 
fit well for him,' that Buber's view of revelation is 'essentially mystical and non- 
historical,' and that 'the realistic disclosure of Yahweh as the Lord of nature and 
of history recedes into the background because of an overconcem with the experience 
of personal relation' — criticisms which are all far wide of the mark, as is shown by 
the present chapter. 

^ From a statement made by Professor Buber at a small discussion group in 
New York City, December 1951. 



LuDWiG Lewisohn, writing in 1935, said of Martin Buber: 

Dr. Buber is the most distinguished and influential of living 
Jewish thinkers. . . . We are all his pupils. The contemporary re- 
integration of modern Western Jewish writers, thinkers, scientists, 
with their people, is unthinkable without the work and voice of 
Martin Buber. ^ 

No Jewish thinker has had a greater cultural, intellectual, and religious 
influence than has Buber in the last four decades. He is of significance 
for Judaism not only as religious philosopher, translator of the Bible, 
and translator and re-creator of Hasidic legends and thought, but also 
as a religious personality who has provided leadership of a rare quality 
during the time of his people's greatest trial and suff"ering since the 
beginning of the diaspora. Since the death of Hermann Cohen, Buber 
has been generally acknowledged as the representative figure of Western 
European Jewry. He wielded a tremendous influence not only upon the 
youth won over to Zionism but also upon the Liberals, and even, 
despite his non-adherence to the Jewish Law, upon the Orthodox. *It 
was Buber,' writes Alfred Werner, *to whom I (like thousands of 
Central European men and women devoid of any Jewish background) 
owe my initiation into the realm of Jewish culture.' ^ 

Today, in the third generation of his writing, speaking, and teaching, 
Martin Buber is without question not only the representative figure of 
Western European Jewry but of world Jewry as well. No one has done 
more than he to bring about a rebirth of Judaism, and his works 
promise to affect generations of thinking religious Jews of the future 

^ Ludwig Lewisohn, Rebirth, A Book of Modern Jewish Thought (New York: 
Harper & Brothers, 1935), p. 87; cf. p. 88 f. and Ludwig Lewisohn, Cities and Men 
(New York: Harper & Brothers, 1927), pp. 200-212. 

2 Franz Rosenzweig, 'Martin Buber,' Judisches Lexikon (Berlin: Jiidischer 
Verlag, 1927), Vol. I, col. 1190 f. Cf. Franz Rosenzweig, Kleinere Schriften (Berlin: 
Schocken Verlag, 1937), p. 106. Alfred Werner, 'Buber at Seventy,' Congress Weekly, 
Vol. XV (February 13, 1948), p. 10; Liptzin, German/ s Stepchildren, op. cit., p. 263 f. 


Buber and Judaism 

The steady spread of his influence from Europe to England and from 
Israel to America makes it clear that this is no temporary phenomenon 
but a deep-seated force in the life and destiny of the Jewish people. 

In his early twenties Buber associated himself with the great Zionist 
leader, Theodore Herzl, and in 1901 he became the editor of the Zionist 
journal, Der Welt. He broke shortly with Herzl, however, because of 
the latter's purely political Zionism, and he became the leader of those 
Zionists (including Chaim Weizmann) who demanded that the move- 
ment be founded on the basis of a Jewish cultural renaissance. In 1902 
this group founded the Jiidischer Verlag, which later became the 
pubUshing house for the most important Zionist literature, and in 1916 
Buber founded the journal Der Jude, which became the central point for 
the higher spiritual strivings of the Zionist movement. As a result of 
its high level, moreover, Der Jude became the leading organ of German- 
speaking Jewry.i 

Although Buber gave up active leadership in the Zionist movement in 
favour of his broader rehgious, philosophical, and social interests, he 
continued to exert a strong influence on the Zionist movement through 
his speeches and writings. Through his emphasis on the building of a 
real Jewish community, he became a co-creator of the idea of the 
Chaluzim, or pioneers. For the furtherance of this goal, his circle joined 
forces in 1919 with the Palestinian 'Hapoel Hazair,' led by A. D. 
Gordon. Adolf Bohm hsts Buber, Nathan Birnbaum, and A. D. Gordon 
as the three most influential leaders of Zionism after Herzl. The new 
perspective which Buber gave to Zionism was not understood outside 
of a narrow circle, and it evoked the most intense enmity of all the 
nationalistic-political Zionists. Yet, according to Bohm, whoever was 
able to follow Buber was freed by his point of view from torturing 
doubts and inspired to more intensive work. In the whole sphere of 
Zionist activity, even that of political organization, it was Buber's 
disciples who accomplished what was essential.'^ 

Buber's attitude toward Zionism is integrally related to his conviction 
that in the work of redemption Israel is called on to play the special 
part of beginning the kingdom of God through itself becoming a holy 
people. This election is not an occasion for particularist pride but a 
commission which must be carried out in all humility. It is not to be 
understood as an objective fact or a subjective feeling but as an un- 
completed dialogical reality, the awareness of an address from God. In 
it the Biblical covenant to make real the kingship of God through 
partnership with the land is combined with the Deutero-Isaianic concept 

1 Robert Weltsch, 'Martin Buber,' Judische Lexikon, op. cit.. Vol. I, col. 1191; 
Adolf Bohm, Die zionistische Bewegung bis zum Ende des Wehkrieges, 2nd enlarged 
edition (Tel Aviv: Hozaah Ivrith Co., 1935), Vol. I, pp. 203 f., 297 ff., 535. 

2 Bohm, Die zionistische Bewegung, Vol. I, pp. 521-540. 


Between Man and God 
of the ^servant' under whose leadership Israel will initiate God's 

Israel's special vocation is not just another nationalism which makes 
the nation an end in itself. The people need the land and freedom to 
organize their own life in order to realize the goal of community. But 
the state as such is at best only a means to the goal of Zion, and it may 
even be an obstacle to it if the true nature of Zion as commission and 
task is not held uppermost.^ 

Zion means a destiny of mutual perfecting. It is not a calculation 
but a command; not an idea but a hidden figure waiting to be 
revealed. Israel would lose its own self if it replaced Palestine by 
another land and it would lose its own self if it replaced Zion by 

If Israel reduces Zionism to 'a Jewish community in Palestine' or tries 
to build a small nation just like other small nations, it will end by 
attaining neither.* 

One of the means by which Buber exerted the greatest influence on 
the Zionist movement was through his discovery and re-creation of 
Hasidism. According to Robert Weltsch, 'Buber's discovery of Hasid- 
ism was epochal for the West : Buber made his thesis believable that no 
renewal of Judaism would be possible which did not bear in itself 
elements of Hasidism.' ^ Through this discovery Buber opened up 
important new aspects of Jewish experience to the Jews of Western 
Europe and at the same time helped bridge the growing gap between 
them and the Jews of Eastern Europe. 

Buber proved conclusively that the despised *poor relations' in 
the East possessed inner treasures of great power and depth which 

it was impossible any longer to ignore Thus he came to embody 

the ultimate synthesis of the two cultural traditions and to become 
its living symbol as well as its finest flower.® 

In his earlier writings Buber regarded Hasidism as the real, though 
subterranean Judaism, as opposed to official Rabbinism which was 
only the outer husk. He has since come to feel that in Hasidism the 
essence of Jewish faith and rehgiosity was visible in the structure of the 

1 Israel and Palestine, op. cit., pp. 34 f , 49 ff., 54; The Prophetic Faith, p. 232 ff. 

2 Israel and the World, 'On National Education,' p. 159; 'Der Chaluz und seine 
Welt,' op. cit., p. 90 fT.; Israel and Palestine, pp. 70 f., 74, 76 f., 117 ff., 121, 125, 
144, 147 f.; Two Letters to Gandhi, op. cit., p. 10 f. 

' Israel and Palestine, p. 142. 
* Ibid., p. 144 f. 

^ Judisches Lexikon, Vol. I, col. 1191 (my translation). 
^ Wolf, 'Martin Buber and German Jewry,' op. cit., p. 348. 


Buber and Judaism 

community but that this essence has also been present *in a less 
condensed form everywhere in Judaism,' in the 'inaccessible structure 
of the personal life.' Buber differs from other thinkers in regarding the 
life of the Hasidim as the core of Hasidism and the philosophical texts 
as a gloss on the life as it is depicted in the legends. In his first Hasidic 
books Buber exercised a great deal of freedom in the retelling of the 
Hasidic legends in the belief that this was the best way to get at the 
essence of the Hasidic spirit.^ In 1921 he rejected this method of trans- 
lating on the grounds that it was *too free.' His later tales, accordingly, 
are closely faithful to the simple and rough originals. They are often 
fragmentary sayings and anecdotes rather than complete stories.^ 
Technical criticism of Buber' s retelling of the Hasidic legends is beside 
the point, writes Ludwig Lewisohn. 

These legends will remain a permanent possession of mankind 
in the form he has given them by virtue of that form which has 
itself become a part of their message and meaning. Thus, too, his 
reinterpretation of the Jewish past is beyond the arbitrament of 
factual scholarship; it has the permanence of great artistic vision; 
it has created that past in the soul of the present and is itself an 
enduring part of Jewish reality.^ 

No one who has read carefully Buber' s later Hasidic tales and 
Biblical interpretations could now accuse him of undue freedom, no 
matter how much they might disagree with his methods or with the 
conclusions that he reaches. A much more serious and frequent criticism 
is the fact that Buber does not regard the Jewish law as essential to the 
Jewish tradition. To understand this attitude we must go back to the 
last of his Talks on Judaism' in which he contrasts the false desire for 
security of the dogmatists of the law with the 'holy insecurity' of the 
truly religious man who does not divorce his action from his intention. 
Religious truth is obstructed, writes Buber, by those who demand 
obedience to all the commandments of the Jewish law without actually 
believing that law to be directly revealed by God. To obey the Mizwot 
without this basic feeling means to abandon both them and oneself to 

•1 Israel and the World, 'The Faith of Judaism,' p. 13; Hasidism, 'The Beginnings 
of Hasidism,' p. 4 f.; Die Legende des Baalschem, op. cit., 'Einleitung.' Lazar 
Gulkowitsch writes of Buber's early poetic recreations of Hasidism: 'Since Martin 
Buber is a poet who himself inclines to mysticism, Hasidism in his representation 
takes on an all too mysterious colouring while its natural childlike quality and its 
sheer naivete do not receive adequate emphasis.' Gulkowitsch, Der Hasidismus, 
op. cit., p. 66 (my translation). ., . 

2 Tales of the Hasidim, The Early Masters, op. cit., p. xi. Cf. pp. v-xii and Martin 
Buber, Der grosse Maggid und seine Nachfolge (Frankfurt am Main: Rutten & 
Loenig, 1922), Vorwort, pp. v-ix. 

^ Lewisohn, Rebirth, op. cit., p. 87. 


Between Man and God 
an autonomous ethic. The relation to the Absolute is a relation of the 
whole man, undivided in mind and soul. To cut off the actions that 
express this relation from the affirmation of the whole human mind 
means to profane them. The image of man toward which we strive is 
one in which conviction and will, personality and its deed are one and 

The dogmatists of the law reply to Buber that spirit remains a 
shadow and command an empty shell if one does not lend them life and 
consciousness from the fountain of Jewish tradition. Otherwise, they 
say, your direction will be self-will and arbitrariness rather than what is 
necessary. How can you decide between that part of God's word which 
appears to you fresh and applicable and that which appears to you old 
and worn out? Buber answers this challenge in terms of the *holy in- 
security' which makes one willing to risk oneself ever again without 
hoping to find once for all a secure truth. 

O you secure and safe ones who hide yourselves behind the 
defence-works of the law so that you will not have to look into 
God's abyss! Yes, you have secure ground under your feet while 
we hang suspended, looking out over the endless deeps. But we 
would not exchange our dizzy insecurity and our poverty for your 
security and abundance. For to you God is one who created once 
and not again; but to us God is he who 'renews the work of 
creation every day.' To you God is one who revealed himself once 
and no more; but to us he speaks out of the burning thorn-bush 
of the present ... in the revelations of our innermost hearts — 
greater than words. 

We know of his will only the eternal; the temporal we must 
command for ourselves, ourselves imprint his wordless bidding ever 

anew in the stuff of reality In genuine life between men the new 

word will reveal itseff to us. First we must act, then we shall 
receive : from out of our own deed.^ 

There is a significant continuity between Buber's present attitude and 
that of these early essays. To Buber Zionism represents the opportunity 
of the people to continue its ancient existence on the land which has 
been interrupted by the generations of exile. This implies that Jewish 
existence in the diaspora from the time of the exile to the present cannot 
be understood as Judaism in the full sense of the term. The religious 
observances developed in the exile have the character, in Buber's 
opinion, of conserving what was realized in the Jewish state before the 
exile. Following Moses Hess, he holds that the spirit of the old Jewish 

^ Reden uber das Judentum, op. cit., 'Cheruth* (1919), pp. 202-209, 217-224. 
2 Ibid., 'Der heiUge Weg' (1919), pp. 65, 71 (my translation). 


Buber and Judaism 
institutions which is preserved by these observances will have the 
power to create new laws in accordance with the needs of the time 
and the people once it is able to develop freely again on the soil of 

Buber*s position on the law has been interpreted by many, such as the 
Orthodox leader Jacob Rosenheim, as a dangerous glorification of 
subjective feeling at the expense of the objective content of actions.^ 
This criticism reveals a total misunderstanding of Buber's philosophy 
of dialogue which is, as we have seen, a narrow ridge between the 
abysses of objectivism on the one side and subjectivism on the other. 
Even some critics who accept the fundamental reality of the I-Thou 
relation as *the centre of any genuine religious experience' treat 'revela- 
tion' as the objective — *the act of God whereby He has disclosed the 
way and destiny of Israel' — and meeting, or the I-Thou relation, as the 
subjective — *the act of man whereby that destiny and its divine source 
are drawn into the inner life of the individual.' Man's response to God 
thus becomes subjective 'apprehension' of an objective truth, and the 
objectified law becomes more important than the relation with God 

Another not infrequent misunderstanding of Buber's attitude toward 
the law is that it is in reality a form of antinomianism. Here as elsewhere 
those who think exclusively in terms of either-or find it very diflficult to 
follow Buber's thought. What Buber is really stressing is the danger of 
'anticipated objectification' — the danger of preventing the personal re- 
newal of the instruction when it becomes objectified and rigid as it 
inevitably must.* Personal responsibility is as far from lawlessness on 
the one side as it is from rigidified formal law on the other. The history 
of antinomian sects and movements, Buber writes, shows clearly that the 
isolated divine freedom abolishes itself when it rebels against divine law. 
'Without law, that is, without any clear-cut and transmissible line of 
demarcation between that which is pleasing to God and that which is 
displeasing to Him, there can be no historical continuity of divine rule 
upon earth.' The reciprocity between man and God implies, however, 
that the divine law must be freely apprehended by one's own act.^ This 

^ Israel and Palestine, p. 122. 

2 Jacob Rosenheim, Beitrdge zur Orientierung im judischen Geistesleben der 
Gegenwart (Zurich: Verlag 'Arzenu,' 5680, 1920), pp. 10, 19-23, 27 flF. 

^ Arthur A. Cohen, 'Revelation and Law, Reflections on Martin Buber's Views 
on Halakah,' Judaism, Vol. I, No. 3 (July 1952), pp. 250-256. For a fuUer criticisni 
of Cohen see my article, 'Revelation and Law in the Thought of Martin Buber,' 
Judaism, Vol. Ill, No. 1 (Winter 1954), p. 16. For an attitude similar to Cohen's see 
Will Herberg's treatment of the law in Judaism and Modem Man (New York: 
Farrar, Straus & Young, 1951). 

* From a statement made by Professor Buber at a small discussion group in New 
York City, December 1951. 

^ Moses, op. cit., p. 187 f.; Eclipse of God, 'Religion and Ethics,' p. 129 f. 


Between Man and God 

in no way implies the position of the antinomians who claim that the 
law as such displaces freedom and the spirit and therefore ought to be 
replaced by them. 

The true argument of the rebellion is that in the world of the law 
what has been inspired always becomes emptied of the spirit, but 
that in this state it continues to maintain its claim of full inspiration ; 
or, in other words, that the living element always dies off but that 
thereafter what is left continues to rule over living men. And the 
true conclusion is that the law must again and again immerse itself 
in the consuming and purifying fire of the spirit, in order to renew 
itself and anew refine the genuine substance out of the dross of 
what has become false.^ 

Franz Rosenzweig has written the best-known and most persuasive 
criticism of Ruber's position on the law. In 'Die Bauleute' Rosenzweig 
makes clear that his support of the law is based upon the covenant that 
God has made, not with our fathers, 'but with us, us, these here today, 
us all, the living.' The content of the teaching must be transformed into 
the power of our actions; general law must become personal command. 
The selection of that part of the law which the individual shall perform 
is an entirely individual one since it depends not upon the will but upon 
what one is able to do. This selection cannot err for it is based upon 
obedience of the whole person rather than arbitrary choice.^ 

In his reply to *Die Bauleute' Buber makes a distinction between 
revelation and the giving of the law which Rosenzweig has failed to 
make: T do not believe that revelation is ever lawgiving, and in the fact 
that lawgiving always comes out of it, I see the fact of human opposi- 
tion, the fact of man.' Rosenzweig recognizes the importance of making 
the law one's own, but he afiirms the whole of the law to be divine prior 
to this personal appropriation, while Buber cannot. Rosenzweig accepts 
the command as from God and leaves open the question of whether the 
individual can fulfil it, whereas Buber remains close to the dialogue and 
makes the real question whether it really is a command of God to one- 
self. To Buber the law cannot be accepted unless it is believed in, and it 
cannot be believed in as something general or universal but only as an 
embodiment of a real address by God to particular individuals. Ts that 
said to me, really to me?' Buber asks. On this basis he can at times join 
himself to the Israel to whom a particular law is addressed and many 
times not. 'And if I could with undivided heart name anything mitzwa ^ 

1 Moses, p. 188. 

2 Franz Rosenzweig, 'Die Bauleute. "Ober das Gesetz." An Martin Buber.' 
Kleiner e Schriften, op. cit., pp. 109-117, 120. 

* Divine command or prescription. 


Buber and Judaism 

in my own life, it is just this, that I thus do and thus leave un- 
done.' 1 

Rosenzweig wished to induce Buber to accept the law as a universal. 
This, to Buber, would be 'faith in a proposition' (pistis) as opposed to 
that trust (emunah) which he feels to be the essence of Judaism. 

The Torah of God is understood as God's instruction in His way 
and therefore not as a separate objectivum. It includes laws, and 
laws are indeed its most vigorous objectivizations, but the Torah 
itself is essentially not law. A vestige of the actual speaking always 
adheres to the commanding word, the directing voice is always 
present or at least its sound is heard fading away.^ 

This dialogical quality of the Torah is endangered by the hardening 
process which brought Torah near the conception of law as an objective 
possession of Israel and which thereafter tends to supplant the vital 
contact with the ever-living revelation and instruction. The struggle 
against this tendency to make the keeping of rules independent of the 
surrender to the divine will runs through the whole history of Israelite- 
Jewish faith — from the prophet's protest against sacrifice without inten- 
tion and the Pharisees' protest against the *tinged-ones' whose inward- 
ness is a pretence up till its peculiarly modern form in Hasidism, in 
which every action gains validity only by a specific devotion of the 
whole man turning immediately to God. Thus though the tendency 
toward the objectivizing of the Torah gained ground in Israel from the 
beginning, the actuaUty of faith again and again liberated the living 
idea. This inner dialectic of Having and Being is . . . the main moving 
force in the spiritual history of Israel.' ^ 

Today, however, 'Israel and the principle of its being have come 
apart.' Despite a national home and freedom to realize itself, the rift 
between the people and the faith is wider than ever.^ In this breaking-up 
of the nation and faith the purpose of becoming a holy nation is 
repudiated. Reform Judaism tends to look on Judaism as religious 
creed. Orthodox Judaism tends to look on it as rehgious laws, both 
without the real existence of a people as a people. Zionists tend to look 
on it as a national destiny and perhaps also a culture but not as a people 
embodying an essential relationship to God in the life of the community. 

1 Martin Buber, 'Offenbanmg und Gesetz' (from letters to Franz Rosenzweig), 
Almanack des Schocken Verlags auf das Jahr 5697 (1936-37), pp. 149-153 (my 
translation). (The dates of the letters are 1/10/22; 1/7/24; 5/7/24.) Cf. Franz 
Rosenzweig, Briefe, ed. by Edith Rosenzweig with the co-operation of Ernst Simon 
(Berlin: Schocken Verlag, 1935), # 399 To Martin Buber (16/7/24), p. 504 f.; # 398 
To Martin Buber (29/6/24), p. 503 f. ; and # 400 To Martin Buber (July 1924), p. 505. 

2 Two Types of Faith, op. cit., p. 57. 

3 Ibid., p. 58 f. 

* At the Turning, op. cit., p. 24. 


Between Man and God 
The only remedy for this splitting-apart of nation and faith is a great 
renewal of the national faith. 

The dialectic of Israel between those giving up themselves to 
guidance and those 'letting themselves go' must come to a decision 
in the souls themselves, so that the task of becoming a holy nation 
may set itself in a new situation and a new form suitable to it. The 
individuals, regenerated in the crisis, who maintain themselves in 
Emunah, would have fulfilled the function ... of sustaining the 
living substance of faith through the darkness.^ 

What it means to sustain the living substance of faith through the 
eclipse is perhaps best shown by Buber's own leadership of the German 
Jews in their spiritual war against Naziism. After the rise of Hitler, 
Buber was appointed as director of the Central Office for Jewish Adult 
Education in Germany, where 'he was responsible for the training of 
teachers for the new schools which had to be established as a result of 
the exclusion of Jewish students from all German educational institu- 
tions.' He also helped guide the teaching, learning, and training 
activities of the numerous Jewish youth organizations, and he headed 
the Frankfurter Jiidische Lehrhaus, a free college for Jewish adult 

From these central and strategic positions, Buber directed his 
spiritual energies to the remotest corners of the Jewish community. 
To the thousands who were reached and electrified by his words it 
meant the difference between the suffering of a meaningless fate and 
the liberating insight into the ultimate triumph of Jewish spirit 
which knows no defeat. ... He was able to save many from 
spiritual despair.* 

Martin Buber led a whole community of Jews to a deeper affirmation 
of their Jewishness, Ernest Wolf concludes. And Jacob Minkin writes: 

He counselled, comforted, raised their dejected spirits. . . . 
Perhaps not many of those who listened to him survived the 
fiendish slaughter, but if they perished, they died with a firmer 
faith in their hearts and a deeper conviction in their minds of their 
people's spiritual destiny. Martin Buber had taught them to die as 
Jews had always died — sanctifying the Name.* 

In the spring of 1952 Buber was awarded the Goethe Prize by the 
University of Hamburg for his 'activity in the spirit of a genuine 

^ Two Types of Faith, p. 171 f. 
2 Wolf, 'Martin Buber and German Jewry,' p. 351. 
'^ Ibid., p. 351 f. 

* Jacob S. Minkin, *The Amazing Martin Buber,' Congress Weekly, Vol. XVI 
(January 17, 1949), p. 10 ff. 


Buber and Judaism 

humanity' and for 'an exemplary cultural activity which serves the 
mutual understanding of men and the preservation and continuation of 
a high spiritual tradition.' In accepting this award Buber recalled the 
number of Germans whom he knew during the time of Hitler who 
risked punishment and death in order to help the German Jews. 'I see 
this as a more than personal manifestation and a symbolic confession,' 
he wrote, *and accept it as such.' This award was indeed a more than 
personal symbol, but it was of great personal significance as well: 
Martin Buber is the only person who stands in such a relation to the 
Germans, the Jews, and the people of the world that he might receive 
such a confession for his people. 




MARTIN Buber's influence on religious thought has steadily 
grown and spread for more than three generations and has 
been equally great among Christian thinkers as among Jews. 
Among the prominent Christian religious thinkers whom Buber has 
significantly influenced are John Baillie, Karl Barth, Nicholas Berdyaev, 
Emil Brunner, Father M. C. D'Arcy, Herbert H. Farmer, J. E. Fison, 
Friedrich Gogarten, Karl Heim, Reuel Howe, Hermann von Keyserling, 
Ernst Michel, Reinhold Niebuhr, H. Richard Niebuhr, J. H. Oldham, 
Theodore Steinbiichel, and Paul Tillich. Mention should also be made 
of a number of Christian thinkers whose religious thought has signifi- 
cantly paralleled Buber's without either influencing or being influenced 
by him. Of these the most important are Ferdinand Ebner, John 
Macmurray, Gabriel Marcel, and Eugene Rosenstock-Huessy. 

The first of a series of Swiss pamphlets subtitled 'Building Stones of 
a Coming Protestantism' is devoted to *Martin Buber's Way in Our 
Time.' In this pamphlet, written in 1940, Walter Nigg says that Martin 
Buber 'possesses a paradigmatic significance' for the religious situation 
of modern man : 

If he was not able to change the face of the present in a decisive 
way, his groping toward the mainsprings of human existence en- 
ables one not only to grasp more deeply the religious situation of 
our time but also to foresee the direction in which a new break- 
through must be sought.^ 

In 1947 J. H. Oldham, a leader of the ecumenical movement in the 
Christian Church, made a similar but even more forceful appraisal of 
Buber's significance for Christianity: 

I am convinced that it is by opening its mind, and conforming 
its practice, to the truth which Buber has perceived and so power- 

^ Nigg, 'Martin Bubers Weg in unserer Zeit,' op. cit., p. 5 (my translation). 


Buber and Christianity 
fully set forth that the Church can recover a fresh understanding 
of its own faith, and regain a real connection with the actual life of 
our time.^ 

In 1948 Paul Tillich, who has himself been greatly influenced by Buber, 
wrote of his significance for Protestant theology as lying in three main 
directions: his ^existential interpretation of prophetic religion, his re- 
discovery of mysticism as an element within prophetic religion, and his 
understanding of the relation between prophetic religion and culture, 
especially in the social and political realms.' 

Buber's existential 'I-Thou' philosophy . . . should be a powerful 
help in reversing the victory of the *It' over the Thou' and the T 

in present civilization The 'I-Thou' philosophy . . . challenging 

both orthodox and liberal theology, points a way beyond their 

Trofessor Buber,' writes J. Coert Rylaarsdam, *is in a unique way 
the agent through whom, in our day, Judaism and Christianity have 
met and enriched one another.' The German Catholic theologian Karl 
Thieme sees Buber's impact as coming principally through his position 
of *an outspoken "between,"' the position that we have called 'the 
narrow ridge.' Although deeply identifying himself with Judaism, Buber 
cannot be classified as either Orthodox, Reform, or political Zionist, 
writes Thieme. At the same time, he has gone as far as a Jew could go 
in honouring Jesus of Nazareth. His insistence that God needs man's 
help to complete creation brings him close to Catholicism but removes 
him from Protestant Christianity, while his enmity toward any fixed 
laws and rules brings him close to radical Protestantism while setting 
him apart from Catholicism. Such a *between-existence' poses a question 
to Buber's contemporaries — ^v/hether they will make use of it as a bridge 
of understanding between camp and camp or lay it aside as indifferent 
to all camps because it can be exploited by none. The answer to this 
question, in Thieme's opinion, does not depend so much on the 
influence of Buber's Hasidic teaching or his existentialist philosophy 
as on whether Christian theologians will allow themselves in earnest to 
be fructified by Buber's interpretation of the Bible.^ 

It is / and Thou which has in particular received great attention, and 

1 Joseph Houldsworth Oldham, Real Life Is Meeting (London: The Sheldon 
Press; New York: The Macmillan Co., 1947), pp. 13-16. 

2 Paul Tillich, 'Martin Buber and Christian Thought,' Commentary, Vol. V, 
No. 6 (June 1948), p. 397. For a further evaluation of Buber's significance as an 
alternative to orthodox and liberal Protestantism see TiUich, 'Jewish Influences on 
Contemporary Christian Theology,' Cross Currents, Vol. II (1952), pp. 38-42. 

' Rylaarsdam, The Prophetic Faith/ op. cit., p. 399; Thieme, 'Martin Buber 
als Interpret der Bibel,' op. cit., p. 8 f. 


Between Man and God 

many recent Continental and English works give evidence that it is 
already recognized as a classic. Walter Marshall Horton points it out 
as the most explicit example of the new sense of depth in Continental 
theology since 1914. J. H. Oldham says of it: 'I question whether any 
book has been published in the present century the message of which, 
if it were understood and heeded, would have such far-reaching con- 
sequences for the life of our time.' ^ Oldham expands this statement in 
another place : 

The realization of the crucial significance of relations between 
persons, and of the fundamentally social nature of reality is the 
necessary, saving corrective of the dominance of our age by the 
scientific way of thinking, the results of which, as we know, may 
involve us in universal destruction, and by the technical mastery of 
things, which threatens man with the no less serious fate of 

Herbert H. Farmer speaks of the central concept of I and Thou as the 
most important contribution given to us of recent years toward the 
reflective grasp of our faith. *It has already entered deeply into the 
theological thought of our time, and is, I believe, destined to enter still 
more deeply.' ^ 

/ and Thou occupies an important place in the Episcopal Church's 
re-education of its clergy for its new wholesale, long-range education 
programme, and it has had a decisive influence on the 'relational 
theology' in terms of which this programme has been oriented.* One 
Anglo-Catholic theologian, J. E. Fison, uses Buber's philosophy as the 
central element in his plea for a greater emphasis on the blessing of the 
Holy Spirit. *The whole conception of spirit,' writes Fison, *as much in 
St. John 3 and in St. Augustine as in the Old Testament, points to that 
between-ness in which Buber sees the essential meaning of life.' ^ 

^ Oldham, op. cit., p. 27 f. 

^ J. H. Oldham, 'Life as Dialogue,' The Christian News-Letter, Supplement to 
No. 281 (March 19, 1947), p. 7 f. 

^ H. H. Farmer, The Servant of the Word (Nevf York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 
1942), p. 25 f. 

* According to the Rev. James Pike, Dean of the Cathedral of St. John the 
Divine, the Episcopal Church is now engaged in the development of a programme 
of education from the cradle to the grave, as a part of which its clergy is being 
systematically trained, at the College of Preachers in Washington, in 'relational 
theology,' an application of the I-Thou relation to sacrament, grace, and redemption, 
conceived in relational terms, primarily in the family. For one such application, 
and a particularly successful one, see R. L. Howe, Man's Need and God's Answer 
(Greenwich, Conn.: Seabury Press, 1952). 

^ J. E. Fison, The Blessing of the Holy Spirit (London: Longmans, Green & Co., 
1950), pp. 28, 65, 126 f., 139, 143 f. 


Buber and Christianity 


The widespread influence of / and Thou on Christian thought does 
not mean, unfortunately, an equally widespread understanding of 
Buber's I-Thou philosophy. Many have not followed Oldham's warning 
that / and Thou is a book which must be reread again and again and 
allowed slowly to remould one's thought. Not only has Buber's I-Thou 
philosophy been applied in the most diverse ways, but it has also, at 
times, been seriously distorted in the application. Melville Channing- 
Pearce, for example, speaks of I and Thou as a *manifest justification of 
Christianity as ... a "cosmic mystery play" of the fall, the redemption 
and resurrection of being.' ^ This statement is incompatible both with 
Buber's Jewishness and with the concreteness of the meeting with the 
Thou. Nicholas Berdyaev has taken over Buber's I-Thou philosophy in 
Society and Solitude, but he has never really understood the ontological 
significance of the sphere of the 'between.' Though he recognizes that 
no I exists without a Thou, his real emphasis is on subjectivity and 
inwardness. At the same time, he criticizes Buber in a way that no care- 
ful reader of / and Thou could possibly do, suggesting that for Buber 
the I-Thou relation is uniquely between man and God and not between 
man and man and within the larger human community.^ 

The German theologian Karl Heim and the Swedish theologian John 
Cullberg have both systematized the I-Thou philosophy to the point 
where it bears unmistakable traces of that reliance on the reality of 
abstraction which characterizes I-It. This is particularly true of Heim's 
recasting of the distinction between the I-Thou and the I-It relations in 
terms of a mathematical analogy of dimensions.^ The greatest danger 
of this type of overconceptualization is that it may lead one to remain 
content with dialogical philosophizing in place of lived dialogue. The 
German Benedictine monk, Fr. Caesarius Lauer, has pointed to this 
danger with uncommon effectiveness in a letter written to Buber in 1951 : 

The 'dialogue' aboiU dialogue is growing on all sides. That 
should make one glad, but it disquiets me. For — if all the signs do 
not deceive — the talk about dialogue takes from men the living 
experience of dialogical life. ... In dialogic it is the realization 

^ Nicodemus (pseud.). Renascence, An Essay in Faith (London: Faber and Faber 
Ltd., 1943), p. 73 ff. 

2 Berdyaev, Solitude and Society, op. cit., p. 79 if. For a further illustration of 
Berdyaev's misinterpretation of Buber, mixed with a strong appreciation, cf. 
Berdyaev's review of Die chassidischen BUcher, Ich und Du, Zwiesprache, and 
Konigtum Gottes in an article in the Russian religious journal Put\ Organ russkoi 
religioznoi mysli (Paris), No. 38 (May 1933), pp. 87-91. 

^ Heim, Glaube und Denken, op. cit., and God Transcendent, op. cit.; Cullberg, 
Das Du und die Wirklichkeit, op. cit.. Systematic Part. 


Between Man and God 

that is decisive, since it is working reality, that means — Life. 
Now, the word certainly belongs to this realization, as Ebner has 
well shown. But just the word, not words, not talk, logicizing 
dialectic. ... It is just the 'spiritual' man of today who suffers in a 
frightful fashion the old temptation of the human spirit, that is to 
say, that of objectifying the living accomplishment. . . . These 
Mialogicar dialecticians do not seem to notice that the dialogic is 
essentially a way. However, *the way is there that one may walk 
on it,' as you once said.^ 

Many of the Christian thinkers and theologians who have adopted the 
I-Thou philosophy have recast it in the form of a radical dualism be- 
tween the I-Thou and the I-It relations entirely incompatible with 
Buber's own thought. Writers like Friedrich Gogarten, Melville 
Channing-Pearce, Emil Brunner, and Karl Barth in varying degrees 
equate I-It with man's sinful nature, and I-Thou with the grace and 
divine love which are only present in their purity in Christ. Even though 
Brunner and Barth both recognize that man's existence as man is made 
possible only through the I-Thou relation, they both emphasize the 
limitations that man's sinfulness places upon his ability to enter into 
this relationship. Karl Heim, in contrast, writes that both the movement 
of sacrifice for the other and that of closing oneself against him are 
possible within the I-Thou relation. By thus divorcing this relation from 
the clear ethical implications which both Buber and Ferdinand Ebner 
have given it, Heim makes possible a dualism on the basis of which he 
characterizes man's relation with the eternal Thou as taking place in an 
altogether different dimension from his relation with his human Thou. 
Father M. C. D'Arcy mistakenly assumes that Heim is developing what 
was implicit in Buber and, as a result, ascribes to Buber the dualism 
which is present in Heim.^ 

The ultimate ethical consequence of this radical split between I-Thou 
and I-It is a de-emphasis on the possibility and significance of ethical 
action and a tendency to reduce man to the role of passive recipient of 
grace. Thus Gogarten says that the I never initiates ethical action but 
only fulfils or denies the claim of the Thou.^ Another result is the 
tendency to place the ethical choice in terms of the choice between one's 

1 Quoted with the permission of the author (my translation). The quotation in 
Fr. Caesarius' letter is from Buber's Preface to his book Das verborgene Licht 
(Frankfurt am Main: Riitten & Loening, 1924). 

2 Gogarten, Ich Glaube an den dreieinigen Gott, op. cit., pp. 103-116, 142-152, 
182-188; Brunner, Wahrheit ah Begegnung, op. cit., pp 66 f., 77 f., Man in Revolt, 
op. cit., chap, vi; Heim, Glaube und Denken, pp. 258-261, 328 ff., 342-349, 370-374; 
God Transcendent, chap, vii; M. C. D'Arcy, The Mind and Heart of Love, Lion and 
Unicorn, A Study in Eros and Agape (New York: Henry Holt & Co., 1947), p. 204, 
cf. pp. 114-123,218,318-321. 

3 Gogarten, op. cit., pp. 110-116. 


Buber and Christianity 

own interest and that of others. This second result is seen most clearly 
in Gogarten's reworking of Buber's philosophy of I and Thou into a 
philosophy of I or Thou. One must choose between the I and the Thou, 
says Gogarten, and in this he is followed by John CuUberg and to a 
lesser degree by Heim. This same emphasis is found in the thought of 
Will Herberg, the modern Jewish thinker who, under the influence of 
Reinhold Niebuhr, has given a strongly Protestant coloration to the 
I-Thou philosophy which he has taken over from Buber. ^ This position 
is unrealistic, for it forgets the participation of the I even in so-called 
^altruistic' actions. It also shows that neither Gogarten nor Cullberg 
have understood the true basis of the I-Thou philosophy which they 
have adopted, for reality is not within each of the two individuals in a 
relationship, as they seem to think, but between them. 

Karl Barth has rejected the dualism between eros and agape in his 
own Christianizing of the I-Thou relation. He has also followed Buber 
in emphasizing the quality of spontaneity and reciprocity in the I-Thou 
relation which must rule out any confusion of this relation with 
dominance or submission.^ Writing in 1948, Barth very possibly had in 
mind the effects that followed in Germany from a confusion of real 
relationship with what Erich Fromm would call authoritarian or sado- 
masochistic relationship. Two earlier German theologians who took 
over Buber's I-Thou philosophy — Friedrich Gogarten and Karl Heim — 
both distorted it by reconciling it with an authoritarian attitude. In 
Gogarten's case this means submission to the state and, in Heim's, sub- 
mission to another person.^ Thus Heim writes : 

I may submit to you as my authority or my guide. You may 
submit to me and recognize mine as the higher will. We may arrive 
at a voluntary agreement of comradeship and co-operation. But 
that this obedience and this fellowship always have the character of 
a Thou' relation, and can never be reduced to an Tt' relation, may 
be seen from the fact that the tension inherent in the Thou' relation 
cannot be happily resolved except by submission or fellowship.* 

1 Ibid., pp. 109-149; Cullberg, op. cit., pp. 201 ff., 222-226; Heim, Glaube und 
Denken, pp. 342-349; Will Herberg, Judaism and Modern Man (New York: Farrar, 
Straus & Young, 1951), pp. 63-66, 72-79, 96, 101 f. Herberg writes: The dominion 
of sin can only be broken by a power not our own, the power of divine grace' 
(p. 77), and 'In the last analysis, the choice is only between love of God and love 
of self, between a Go^-centred and 5e//-centred existence' (p. 96). I have devoted a 
whole section of my article, 'Martin Buber and Christian Thought,' to this aspect 
of Herberg's thought {The Review of Religion, Vol. XVIII, No. 1/2 (November 
1953), p. 41 f. (sec. iv). 

2 Karl Barth, Kirchliche Dogmatik, Vol. Ill, Part 2: Die Lehre von Schopfung 
(Zurich: Evangelischer Verlag, A. G. ZoUikon, 1948), pp. 318-329, 337-340. 

^ For Buber's criticism of Gogarten's Political Ethics see Between Man and Man, 
'The Question to the Single One,' p. 76 f. 
* God Transcendent, pp. 163-167. 


Between Man and God 
In the light of Buber's clear and consistent emphasis on the indepen- 
dence and full freedom of the two partners to the I-Thou relationship, 
it is ironical to find Karl Barth suggesting that the main difference 
between his I-Thou philosophy and that of Buber is that he (Barth) 
makes 'freedom of the heart between man and man the root and crown 
of the concept of humanity.' This freedom implies for Barth just that 
rejection of the attempt to remove the distance between the I and the 
Thou through dominance or submission which has always been the 
simplest pre-supposition of Buber's I-Thou relationship.^ Buber's 
emphasis on spontaneity is much stronger, in fact, than that of Barth 
himself and the other Christian theologians using the I-Thou termin- 
ology — a difference probably caused by the Christian tendency to 
emphasize the gap between man's fallen nature and Christian love. The 
Christian tendency from Augustine to the Reformation to see faith as 
a gift of God has tended, in Buber's opinion, to obscure man's 
spontaneity : 

This sublime conception, with all that goes with it, resulted in 
the retreating into obscurity of the Israelite mystery of man as an 
independent partner of God. The dogma of original sin was not, 
indeed, adapted to further that especial connection of the ethical 
with the religious that true theonomy seeks to realize through the 
faithful autonomy of man.^ 


It is not surprising that Christian theologians should have given a 
more duaUstic cast to the I-Thou philosophy than Buber has. It is 
important that we be aware that this difference exists, however, for 
Buber's attitude toward evil is an integral part of his philosophy of 
dialogue and cannot be divorced from that philosophy without radically 
transforming it. There are many Christian interpretations of the I-Thou 
philosophy. For Fison it implies that the significance of the sacrifice on 
the cross lies in a two-way and reciprocal action in which God on the 

^ Barth, op. cit., p. 333 ff. That Barth should thus misinterpret Buber is indeed 
strange in the light of the clearly great influence, both direct and indirect, of Buber's 
dialogical thought on Barth's revision of his theology in the direction of the I-Thou 
relationship. Although Barth was undoubtedly also influenced by Ferdinand Ebner 
and Karl Lowith, most of his terminology (/c/i und Du, Begegnung, Dialog, Monolog) 
is Buber's. Testifying to this influence, Tillich writes: 'Through the great Swiss 
theologians, Barth and Brunner, Buber's basic idea has become a common good of 
Protestant theology.' 'Jewish Influences on Contemporary Theology,' op. cit., 
p. 38. In his 'Nachwort' to Die Schriften iiber das dialogische Prinzip (p. 303 ff".) 
Buber replies at length to Barth's statements concerning him. For Hasidism, Buber 
writes, freedom of the heart between man and man is 'the innermost presupposition, 
the ground of grounds.' 

2 Eclipse of God, 'Rehgion and Ethics,' p. 140 f. 


Buber and Christianity 

cross gave and received all. For Friedrich Gogarten it implies that God 
must be worshipped in the form of Christ, for only this form makes God 
sufficiently real as a Thou. For Romano Guardini it implies that Christ, 
through his perfect I-Thou relation with God, shows us the way to God, 
and for Barth it implies that Christ, as the son of God, has a perfect 
I-Thou relation with men, while men, being sinners against God, unfold 
their existence in opposition and closedness to the Thou.^ 

For Buber, in contrast, the I-Thou philosophy implies that God 
becomes an absolute person — an imageless and sometimes hiding God 
who cannot be limited to any one manifestation and, hence, cannot be 
understood as having become incarnate in Christ.^ On the other hand, 
Buber has recognized and pointed to the tremendous religious signi- 
ficance of Jesus as possibly no Jew has heretofore done while remaining 
firmly planted on the soil of Judaism. Buber wrote of Jesus in 1950: 

From my youth onwards I have found in Jesus my great brother. 
That Christianity has regarded and does regard him as God and 
Saviour has always appeared to me a fact of the highest importance 
which, for his sake and my own, I must endeavour to understand. 
. . . My own fraternally open relationship to him has grown ever 
stronger and clearer, and today I see him more strongly and clearly 
than ever before. I am more than ever certain that a great place 
belongs to him in Israel's history of faith and that this place cannot 
be described by any of the usual categories.^ 

Buber's forty years of concern with Jesus and Jesus' significance for 
Jewish Messianism have culminated in a study of Jesus and Paul, in 
Two Types of Faith, which cannot fail to be of great significance in both 
furthering and clarifying the relation between Judaism and Christianity. 
In this book he identifies faith as trust (emunah) with biblical and 
Pharisaic Judaism and with the teachings of Jesus; faith in the truth of 
a proposition {pistis) he identifies with Greek thought and Paulinism.* 

The life-history of Jesus cannot be understood, in my opinion,' 
writes Buber, *if one does not recognize that he . . . stood in the shadow 
of the Deutero-Isaianic servant of the Lord.' Reproached for altering 
the figure of the *holy Yehudi' in For the Sake of Heaven according to 
a conscious or unconscious Christian tendency, Buber answers that 
there is not one single trait of this figure which is not already to be 
found in the tradition of the suffering servant. But Jesus stepped out of 
the concealment of the *quiver' (Isa. xlix, 2) while the 'holy Yehudi' 

1 Fison, op. cit., pp. 196-202; Gogarten, op. cit., pp. 142-188; Guardini, Welt 
und Person, op. cit., pp. 114-126; Barth, op. cit., pp. 265-272. 

2 Two Types of Faith, p. 38 f. 

3 Ibid., p. 12f. 

* Ibid., pp. 7-12. 


Between Man and God 
remained therein.^ The Messianic mystery is based on a real hiddenness 
which penetrates to the innermost existence and is essential to the 
servant's work of suffering. Although each successive servant may be 
the Promised One, in his consciousness of himself he dare not be any- 
thing other than a servant of the Lord. The arrow in the quiver is not 
its own master; the moment at which it shall be drawn out is not for it 
to determine.' If the servant should tear apart his hiddenness, not only 
would his work itself be destroyed but a counter-work would set in. It 
is in this light that we must understand the attitude of Judaism to the 
appearance of Jesus. The meaning of this appearance for the Gentiles 
'remains for me the real seriousness of western history,' writes Buber. 
But from the point of view of Judaism, Jesus is the first of the series of 
men who acknowledged their Messiahship to themselves and the world. 
That this first one ... in the series was incomparably the purest, the 
most legitimate of them all, the one most endowed with real Messianic 
power, does not alter the fact of his firstness.' - 

Jesus's Messianic consciousness was probably influenced by the 
apocalyptic Book of Enoch, in which the form, but not the person, of 
the servant has pre-existence, and by the events of the end which may 
have led Jesus to step out of the concealment of the 'quiver' and 
imagine himself, after the vision of Daniel, as in his own person the one 
who will be removed and afterwards sent again to the oflBice of fulfilment. 
Before the events of the end, Jesus undoubtedly did not see himself as 
anything other than the hidden servant. And even in the end, he did 
not hold himself divine in the sense in which he was later held. His 
Messianic consciousness may have been used by Paul and John as the 
beginning of the process of deification, but this process was only 
completed by the substitution of the resurrection for the removal of the 
servant and personal pre-existence for the pre-existence in form of the 
Jewish Apocalypses. It was only then that 'the fundamental and persis- 
tent character of the Messiah, as of one rising from humanity and 
clothed with power, was displaced by ... a heavenly being, who came 
down to the world, sojourned in it, left it, ascended to heaven and now 
enters upon the dominion of the world which originally belonged to 

Furthermore, whatever was the case with his 'Messianic conscious- 
ness,' Jesus, in so far as we know him from the Synoptic tradition, did 
not summon his disciples to have faith in Christ. The faith which he 
preached was not the Greek pistis — faith in a proposition — but the 

1 For the Sake of Heaven, 2nd Edition (New York: Harpers & Brothers, 1953), 
Foreword, p. xii f. (In Gog und Magog, the German original, this is a postlude.) 

2 Hasidism, 'Spinoza,' p. 113 f. The second and last quotations are my own 
translation from the original, Die chassidische Botschaft (Heidelberg: Verlag Lambert 
Schneider, 1952), p. 29. Two Types of Faith, p. 107. 


Buber and Christianity 
Jewish emunah — 'that unconditional trust in the grace which makes a 
person no longer afraid even of death because death is also of grace.' 
Paul and John, in contrast, made faith in Christ {pistis) the one door 
to salvation. This meant the abolition of the immediacy between God 
and man which had been the essence of the Covenant and the kingship 
of God. "'I am the door" it now runs (John x, 9); it avails nothing, as 
Jesus thought, to knock where one stands (before the "narrow door"); 
it avails nothing, as the Pharisees thought, to step into the open door; 
entrance is only for those who believe in "the door.'" ^ 

The Jewish position regards the fulfilment of the divine command as 
valid when it takes place in conformity with the full capacity of the 
person, whereas Jesus demands that the person go beyond what would 
ordinarily be his full capacity in order to be ready to enter the kingdom 
of God which draws near.'^ Apart from this difference, Jesus' attitude 
toward the fulfilment of the commandments is essentially the same as 
the Jewish position. Both agree that the heart of man is by nature with- 
out direction and that 'there is no true direction except to God.' They 
also agree in the belief that God has given man the Torah as instruction 
to teach him to direct his heart to Him. The Torah is not an objective 
law independent of man's actual relationship to God: it bestows life 
only on those who receive it in association with its Giver, and for His 

For the actuality of the faith of Biblical and post-Biblical Judaism 
and also for the Jesus of the Sermon on the Mount, fulfilment of 
the Torah means to extend the hearing of the Word to the whole 
dimension of human existence.^ 

Paul, in contrast to Jesus, represents a decided turning away from 
the Biblical conception of the kingship of God and the immediacy 
between God and man. He posits a dualism between faith and action 
based on a belief in the impossibility of the fulfilment of the law. Law 
as he here conceives it is necessarily external ; it derives from the Greek 
conception of an objectivum and is foreign to the Jewish understanding 
of Torah as instruction. This external law makes all men sinners before 
God, but man can be saved from this dilemma by faith in Christ. This 
faith, however, is essentially the Greek pistis, faith in the truth of a 
proposition — faith with a knowledge content.^ 

Trust in the immediacy between man and God is further destroyed 
through Paul's strong tendency to split off God's wrath and His mercy 
into two separate powers. He regards the world as given over to the 

1 Two Types of Faith, pp. 96 f., 102-113, 160. 

2 Ibid., pp. 22 f., 56, 60 f., 79, 94. 

3 Ibid., pp. 56 flF., 63 ff., 136 f. 

* Ibid., pp. 7f., 11 f., 36-57, 79 f. 

Between Man and God 
power of judgment until the crucifixion and resurrection of Christ 
brings mercy and redemption, and he regards man as by nature vile 
and as incapable of receiving pardon from God until the advent of 
Christ. For Paul, God's will to harden is no longer a part of His direct 
relation with a particular person or generation. Tor the sake of His 
plan of salvation God hardens all the generations of Israel, from that 
assembled on Sinai to that around Golgotha, with the exception of His 
chosen "Election" (Rom. xi, 7).' Paul's God has no regard for the 
people to whom He speaks but *uses them up for higher ends.' ^ 

Paul answers the problem of evil by creating, in effect, two separate 
Gods, one good and one bad. In Paul's view it is God alone who makes 
man unfree and deserving of wrath while in the work of deliverance God 
almost disappears behind Christ. The Highest Beings stand out from 
one another as dark omnipotence and shining goodness, not as later 
with Marcion in dogma and creed, but in the actual experience of the 
poor soul of man.' Although the Christian Paulinism of our time softens 
the demonocracy of the world, it too sees existence as divided into 'an 
unrestricted rule of wrath' and *a sphere of reconciliation.' It raises 
energetically the claim for the establishment of a Christian order of life, 
'but de facto the redeemed Christian soul stands over against an un- 
redeemed world of men in lofty impotence.' This dualistic conception 
of God and his relation to the world is utterly unacceptable to Buber : 
'In the immediacy we experience His anger and His tenderness in one,' 
he writes. 'No assertion can detach one from the other and make Him 
into a God of wrath Who requires a mediator.' In this connection Buber 
contrasts the modern Paulinism of Emil Brunner with Franz Kafka's 
'Paulinism of the unredeemed.' Kafka knows God's hiddenness, and 
he describes most exactly from inner awareness 'the rule of the foul 
devilry which fills the foreground.' But Kafka, the Jew, also knows that 
God's hiding Himself does not diminish the immediacy: 'In the 
immediacy He remains the Saviour and the contradiction of existence 
becomes for us a theophany.' ^ 


Our awareness of the differences between Buber's thought and that of 
the Christian thinkers who have adopted the I-Thou philosophy need 
in no way imply a minimization of the very great similarities that exist 
between these religious leaders of different faiths. On the contrary, we 
presuppose this similarity, and we begin with the situation in which the 
resemblances are so great that the differences are often overlooked or 
obscured. Even where there are important differences, moreover, they 

1 Two Types of Faith, pp. 47, 81 ff., 85-90, 131-134, 137-142, 146-150. 
* Ibid., pp. 138-142, 162 ff., 168 f. 


Buber and Christianity 
have contributed much to the fruitfulness of Buber's dialogue and friend- 
ship with such eminent Christian thinkers as Paul Tillich, Rudolf Bult- 
mann, Albert Schweitzer, Rudolph Otto, and Leonhard Ragaz. The 
spirit in which Buber has carried on this dialogue is made clear in his 
reply to Rudolph Pannwitz's criticism that Buber's contrast between 
Judaism and Christianity has been unfavourable toward the latter: Vv 
'Religions,* writes Buber, *are receptacles into which the spirit of mait/'Jp 
is fitted. Each of them has its origin in a separate revelation and its goal ) 
in the suspension of all separateness. Each represents the universality 
of its mystery in myth and rite and thus reserves it for those who live 
in it.'^ compare one religion with another, valuing the one which is 
seen from within and devaluing the one which is seen from without, is 
always, therefore, a senseless undertaking. One can only compare the 
corresponding parts of the buildings according to structure, function, 
and connection with one anothe^^ In an address in Jerusalem com- 
memorating his great Christian socialist friend Ragaz, Buber made 
perhaps his most concise and impassioned statement on the place of 
Jesus in the Jewish community, a statement which shows at once the 
sympathy and the *othemess' which have marked his dialogue with his 
Christian friends: 

I firmly believe that the Jewish community, in the course of its 
renaissance, will recognize Jesus; and not merely as a great figure 
in its religious history, but also in the organic context of a Messianic 
development extending over millennia, whose final goal is the 
Redemption of Israel and of the world. But I believe equally firmly 
that we will never recognize Jesus as the Messiah Come, for this 
would contradict the deepest meaning of our Messianic passion. . . . 
There are no knots in the mighty cable of our Messianic belief, 
which, fastened to a rock on Sinai, stretches to a still invisible peg 
anchored in the foundations of the world. In our view, redemption 
occurs forever, and none has yet occurred. Standing, bound and 
shackled, in the pillory of mankind, we demonstrate with the 
bloody body of our people the unredeemedness of the world. For 
us there is no cause of Jesus; only the cause of God exists for us.^ 

The faith of Judaism and that of Christianity will remain separate 
until the coming of the Kingdom, writes Buber. The Christian sees the 
Jew as the incomprehensibly obdurate man who declines to see what has 
happened, and the Jew sees the Christian as the incomprehensibly daring 
man who affirms redemption in an unredeemed world. Nevertheless, 
each can acknowledge the other's relation to truth when each cares 

' Origin and Meaning of Hasidism, op. cit., 'Christ, Hasidism, Gnosis/ 
^Quoted in Ernst Simon, 'Martin Buber: His Way between ^^^^^^^^^^ 
Deed' (on Buber's 70th anniversary), Jewish Frontier, XV (February 1948), p. 26. 


Between Man and God 

more for God than for his image of God. 'An Israel striving after the 
renewal of its faith through the rebirth of the person and a Christianity 
striving for the renewal of its faith through the rebirth of nations would 
have something as yet unsaid to say to each other and a help to give to 
one another hardly to be conceived at the present time.' ^ 

1 Israel and the World, 'The Two Foci of the Jewish Soul,' p. 39 f.; Two Types 
of Faith, p. 173 f. 



IN his combination of spiritual tension, breadth of scope, and central 
unity Martin Buber is similar to three of his most important intel- 
lectual and spiritual masters, Kierkegaard, Dostoievsky, and 
Nietzsche. He has gone beyond them, however, in his unwillingness to 
emphasize intensity for its own sake or to sacrifice one element of 
thought for the dramatization of another. He has held in tension and 
brought toward unity the various elements that they tended to isolate 
or to convert into irreconcilable antinomies. He has sacrificed the 
simpler intensity of the 'Single One,' the 'God-man,' and the 'Super- 
man' for the tremendous spiritual tension of the 'narrow ridge.' He has 
not, like Kierkegaard, devalued man's relation to man and to culture 
in favour of his individual relation with God; nor has he, like Nietzsche, 
stressed the dynamic realization of culture and value in individual life 
at the expense of the relation to God and fellow-man in all their in- 
dependent 'otherness.' Like Dostoievsky, he has embraced rather than 
chosen between the opposites of self-affirmation and turning to God, 
of the individual and society, but he has gone beyond Dostoievsky in 
his ability to bring these opposites into true unity. 

Buber's philosophy of dialogue has made possible a new under- 
standing of the problem of evil because it has reaffirmed the basic 
significance of the personal relation between the Absolute, the world, 
and man as against the tendency to submerge man in a mechanistic 
universe or to reduce God to an impersonal and indirect first cause, an 
abstract monistic absolute, or an immanent vital force. The answer 
which Buber finds in the Book of Job, as in the I-Thou relationship, is 
not an answer which solves or removes the problem. Wrong does not 
become right, yet God is near to Job once again, and in this nearness 
Job finds meaning in what has happened to him, a meaning which can- 
not be stated in any other terms than those of the relationship itself. 
This answer is not implied in the statement of the question, as it might 
seem to be, for God's relation to man as the eternal Thou which never 
becomes an It does not make any the less real the 'silence' or 'eclipse' of 
God when He appears to hide Himself and we cut ourselves off from 
relation with Him. If He comes near to us again, this must be experi- 


enced as a real happening and not as a logical deduction from a set of 
basic assumptions. 

Buber has demanded, as no other modern thinker, the hallowing of 
the everyday — the redemption of evil through the creation of human 
community in relation with God. Does this attitude toward evil meet 
the challenge of Sartre's existentialism, which sees evil as radical and 
unredeemable? Those who understand Buber's philosophy will not 
hesitate to answer yes, for that philosophy is essentially concrete, close 
to experience, and realistic as only a life open to the reality of evil in 
the profoundest sense could produce. 

It is the inclusion of tragedy within the redemption of evil which 
marks Buber's deepest realism. Tragedy for Buber, as we have seen, is 
the conflict between two men through the fact that each of them is as 
he is. It is the tragedy of the contradiction, which arises from the fact 
that men cannot and do not respond to the address that comes to them 
from that which is over against them. They thereby crystallize this over- 
againstness into simple opposition and prevent the realization of its 
possibilities of relationship. This concept of tragedy is not an alternative 
to a rehgious view of life but an integral part of it. Not only Moses, 
but the prophets, the *suffering servant,' Jesus and the Yehudi are to 
be understood in its light. Tragedy is not simply an event that should 
be removed, but in its deepest meaning an integral part of life. *We 
cannot leave the soil of tragedy,' Buber has said, *but in real meeting 
we can reach the soil of salvation after the tragedy has been completed.' 
For Buber the real distinction is not between a naive acceptance of the 
world and the experiencing of its tragedy, but between the Gnostic 
belief in a contradiction that cuts the world off from God and the 
Jewish belief that 'tragedy' can be experienced in the dialogical situation, 
that the contradiction can become a theophany. 

There is a movement from I-Thou to I-It even as from I-It to I-Thou, 
and one is sometimes tempted to believe that these movements are of 
equal force. To believe in the redemption of evil, however, means to 
believe that the movement from I-It to I-Thou, the penetration of I-It 
by I-Thou, is the fundamental one. This is a faith born out of the I-Thou 
relationship itself: it is trust in our relation with the Eternal Thou, in 
the ultimate oneness of the world with God. But redemption does not 
depend on God alone. Each man helps bring about the unity of God 
and the world through genuine dialogue with the created beings among 
whom he lives. Each man lets God into the world through hallowing 
the everyday. 




In English Translation 

'Adult Education,' Torah (Magazine of Nat. Federation of Jewish 
Men's Clubs of United Synagogue of America), June 1952. 

Arab-Jewish Unity. Testimony before the Anglo-American Inquiry 
Commission for the Ihud (Union) Association by Judah Magnes 
and Martin Buber. London: Victor Gollancz Ltd., 1947. 

At the Turning. Three Addresses on Judaism. New York: Farrar, 
Straus & Young, 1952. 

'The Beginning of the National Idea,' Review of Religion, X (1945- 
46), 254-265. 

Between Man and Man. Translated by Ronald Gregor Smith. Lon- 
don: Kegan Paul, 1947. (Includes 'Dialogue,' 'The Question to the 
Single One,' 'Education,' 'The Education of Character,' and 'What 
Is Man?') Boston: Beacon Paperback, 1955. 

'Distance and Relation.' Translated by Ronald Gregor Smith. Psy- 
chiatry, Vol. XX, No. 2 (May 1957), pp. 97-104. 

Eclipse of God. Studies in the Relation between Religion and Philos- 
ophy. Translated by Maurice S. Friedman, et al. New York: Harper 
& Brothers, 1952; Harper Torchbook, 1957. 

For the Sake of heaven. Translated from the German by Ludwig 
Lewisohn. Philadelphia: The Jewish Pubhcation Society, 1945. 
Second edition with new foreword — New York: Harper & Brothers, 
1953. Meridian- Jewish Publication Society paperback edition, 

Good and Evil. Two Interpretations. (Includes Right and Wrong and 
Images of Good and Evil.) New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 

Hasidism. New York: The Philosophical Library, 1948. 

'Hope for This Hour.' Translated by Maurice S. Friedman. Address 
given in English at Carnegie Hall, New York City, April 6, 1952. 
World Review, December 1952; Pointing the Way, pp. 220-229. 

/ and Thou, 2nd edition with Postscript by Author. Translated by 
Ronald Gregor Smith. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1958. 

Images of Good and Evil. Translated by Michael Bullock. London: 
Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1952. 



Israel and Palestine. The History of an Idea. Translated from the 
German by Stanley Godman. London: East and West Library; New 
York: Farrar, Straus & Young, 1952. 

Israel and the World, Essays in a Time of Crisis. New York: Schocken 
Books, 1948. 

The Legend of the Baal-Shem. Translated by Maurice S. Friedman, 
New York: Harper & Brothers, London: East and West Library, 

*Letters to Franz Rosenzweig on the Law,' in Franz Rosenzweig, On 
Jewish Education. Edited by N. N. Glatzer. New York: The Noon- 
day Press, 1954. 

Mamre, Essays in Religion. Translated by Greta Hort. Melbourne and 
London: Melbourne University Press & Oxford University Press, 

*Myth in Judiasm.' Translated by Ralph Manheim. Commentary, Vol. 
IX (June 1950), pp. 562-566. 

Moses. Oxford: East West Library, 1946. Harper Torchbook, 1958 

*A New Venture in Adult Education,' The Hebrew University of 
Jerusalem. Semi -jubilee volume published by The Hebrew University, 
Jerusalem, April 1950, pp. 116-120. 

*On the Suspension of the Ethical.' Translated by Maurice S. Friedman. 
Moral Principles of Action, edited by Ruth Nanda Anshen, Vol. VI 
of Science of Culture Series. New York: Harper & Brothers, 1952. 

*Our Reply,' Towards Union in Palestine, Essays on Zionism and Jewish- 
Arab Cooperation. Edited by Martin Buber, Judah L. Magnes, and 
Ernst Simon. Jerusalem: Ihud Association, 1945, pp. 33-36. 

Paths in Utopia. Translated by R. F. C. Hull. London: Routledge & 
Kegan Paul, 1949. Boston: Beacon Paperback, 1958. 

Pointing the Way: Collected Essays. Translated by Maurice S. Fried- 
man. New York: Harper & Brothers, London: Routledge & Kegan 
Paul, 1957. 

The Prophetic Faith. Translated from the Hebrew by Carlyle Witton- 
Davies. New York: The Macmillan Co., 1949. 

'Remarks on Goethe's Concept of Humanity,' Goethe and the Modern 
Age. Edited by Arnold Bergstraesser. Chicago: Henry Regnery, 
1950, pp. 227-233. 

Right and Wrong, An Interpretation of Some Psalms. Translated by 
Ronald Gregor Smith. London: S.C.M. Press Ltd., 1952. 

'Society and the State,' World Review New Series 27 (May 1951), 
pp. 5-12. Pointing the Way, pp. 161-176. 

Tales of the Hasidim, The Early Masters. Translated by Olga Marx. 
New York: Schocken Books, 1947. 

Tales of the Hasidim, The Later Masters. Translated by Olga Marx. 
New York: Schocken Books, 1948. 



Ten Rungs, Hasidic Sayings. Translated by Olga Marx. New York: 

Schocken Books, 1947. 
Two Letters to Gandhi. With Judah Magnes and including public letters 

by Buber and Magnes and the original text of Gandhi's statement 

about the Jews in Harijan, November 26, 1938. Pamphlets of The 

Bond. Jerusalem: Rubin Mass, April 1939. 
Two Types of Faith. Translated by Norman P. Goldhawk. London : 

Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1951; New York: Macmillan Co., 1952. 
The Way of Man, According to the Teachings of Hasidism. London: 

Routledge & Kegan Paul,1950; Hasidism and Modern Man,W^AV . 

In the German Original 

' Abstrakt und Konkret,' additional note to 'Hoffnung fiir diese Stunde,' ; 

Neue Schweizer Rundschau, Vol. XX, No. 8 (December 1952) 

Merkur, Deutsche Zeitschrift fiir Europdisches Denken, Vol. VII, 

No. 1 (January 1953). 
An der Wende. Reden Uber das Judentum. Koln and Olten: Jacob 

Hegner Verlag, 1952. 
Des Baal-Schem-Tow Unterweisung im Umgang mit Gott. Hellerau: 

Jakob Hegner Verlag, 1927. 
Bilder von Gut und Bose. Koln und Olten: Jakob Hegner, 1952. 
Biicher und Menschen. A four-page booklet privately printed and not 

sold to the public. St. Gallen: Tschudy- Verlag, 1951. 
'Der Chaluz und seine Welt' (Aus einer Rede), Almanach des Schocken 

Verlag auf das Jahr 5697 (1936-37). Berlin: Schocken Verlag, pp. 

Die chassidische Botschaft. Heidelberg: Lambert Schneider, 1952. 
Die chassidischen Biicher, Gesamtausgabe. Hellerau: Jakob Hegner, 

Cheruth. Ein Rede uber Jugend und Religion. Vienna and Berlm: R. 

Lowit Verlag, 1919. 
Chinesische Geister- und Liebesgeschichten. Frankfort am Main: Rutten 

& Loening, 1911. Reissued as a volume in the Manesse Bibliothek 

der Weltliteratur. Zurich: Manesse Veriag, 1948. 
'Christus, Chassidismus, Gnosis. Einige Bemerkungen' (Reply to an 

article by Rudolph Pannwitz in Merkur (1954)), Merkur (Berim), 

Vol. VIII (1954). 
Daniel. Gesprdche von der Verwirklichung. Leipzig: Insel Veriag, 1913. 
Deutung des Chassidismus. Beriin: Schocken Veriag, 1935. 
Dialogisches Leben. Gesammelte philosophische und pddagogische 

Schriften (including Ich und Du, Zwiesprache, Die Frage an den 

Einzelnen, Uber das Erzieherische, 't)ber Charaktererziehung,' Das 

Problem des Menschen). Zurich: Gregor Muller Veriag, 1947. 


Drei Reden Uber das Judentum. Frankfurt am Main: Riitten & Loening, 

*Drei Satze eines religiosen Sozialismus,' Die Neue Wege, XXII (1928), 

327 fr. 
*Die Duse in Florenz,* Die Schaubiihne, Vol. I, No. 15 (December 14, 

*Drama und Theater,' Masken, Zeitschrift fUr deutsche Theaterkultur, 

edited by Schauspielhaus Diisseldorf, Vol. XVIII (1922), No. 1, 

p. 5fr. 
Das echte Gesprdch und die Moglichkeiten des Friedens. Speech made 

by Buber on occasion of receiving the Friedenspreis des Deutschen 

Buchhandels, Frankfurt am Main, Paulskirche, September 27, 1953. 

Heidelberg: Lambert Schneider Verlag, 1953. Also found as part of 

Martin Buber, Friedenspreis, pp. 33-41. 
Einsichten. Aus den Schriften gesammelt. Wiesbaden: Insel Verlag, 1953. 
Ekstatische Konfessionen. Jena: Eugen Diedrichs Verlag, 1909. 
'Elemente des Zwischenmenschlichen,' Merkur (Munich), February 

1954, Neue Schweizer Rundschau (Zurich), Neue Folge, Vol. 

XXI, No. 10 (February 1954), pp. 593-608; also included in Mar- 
tin Buber, Die Schriften Uber das dialogische Prinzip, pp. 255- 

'Die Erwahlung Israels,' Quatember, Evangelische Jahresbriefe 6, 

XXI, No. 3, 1956-1957 (June 1957), pp. 136-145. 
Ereignisse und Begegnungen. Leipzig: Insel- Verlag, 1917. 
'Erkenntnis tut not,' Almanach des Schocken Verlags aufdas Jahr 5696 

(1935/36). Berlin: Schocken Verlag, pp. 11-14. 
'Erwiderung auf C. G. Jung,' Merkur, Deutsche Zeitschrift fUr 

europdisches Denken, Vol. VI, No. 5 (May 1952). 
Erzdhlungen von Engeln, Geistern und Ddmonen. Berlin: Schocken 

Die Erzdhlungen der Chassidim. Manesse-Bibliothek der Weltliteratur. 

Zurich: Manesse- Verlag, 1950. 
Die Frage an den Einzelnen. Berlin: Schocken Verlag, 1936. 
*Geltung und Grenze des politischen Prinzips,' Frankfurter Hefte, 

September 1953; also included in Hinweise, pp. 330-346, and in 

Hansischer Goethe-Preis, 1951, pp. 9-20. 
Gemeinschaft, Vol. II of Worte an die Zeit. Munich: Dreilander Verlag, 

Die Geschichten des Rabbi Nachman. Frankfurt am Main: Riitten & 

Loening, 1906. Revised edition, Koln: Jacob Hegner Verlag, 1955. 
(editor) Die Gesellschaft. Sammlung sozialpsychologischer Mono- 

graphien. 40 vols. Frankfurt am Main: Riitten & Loening, 1906-12. 

Buber's Introduction to the series in 1st ed. of 1st vol., Werner 

Sombart, Das Proletariat, 1906. 


Der Glaube der Propheten. Zurich: Manesse Verlag, 1950. 
Gog und Magog. Eine Chronik, Heidelberg: Verlag Lambert Schneider, 

Gottesfinsternis. Zurich: Manesse Verlag, 1953. 
Der grosse Maggid und seine Nachfolge. Frankfurt am Main: Riitten & 

Loening, 1922. 
Grundsdtze, Vol. I of Worte an die Zeit. Munich: Dreilanderverlag, 

Der Heilige Weg. Frankfurt am Main: Riitten & Loening, 1919. 
*Heilung aus der Begegnung,' Preface to Hans Trlib, Heilung am der 

Begegnung. Eine Auseinandersetzung mit der Psychologie C. G. Jungs. 

Edited by Ernst Michel and Arie Sborowitz. Stuttgart: Ernst Klett 

Verlag, 1952. Also pubHshed separately in Neue Schweizer Rundschau, 

Vol. XIX, No. 6 (October 1951), pp. 382-386. 
Hinweise, Gesammelte Essays (1910-53). Zurich: Manesse Verlag, 1953. 
*Hoffnung fur diese Stunde,' Merkur, Vol. VI, No. 8 (August 1952); 

Neue Schweizer Rundschau, Vol. XX, No. 5 (September 1952), 

pp. 270-278. 
Hundert chassidische Geschichten. Berlin: Schocken Verlae. 1930. 
Ich wM^Dw.Nachworterweiterte.Heidelberg: Verlag L.Schneider, 1958- 
Israel und Paldstina. Zur Geschichte einer Idee. Erasmus Bibliothek, 

edited by Walter Riiegg. Zurich: Artemis-Verlag, 1950. 
Die jUdische Bewegung. Gesammelte Aufsdtze und Ansprachen. Vol. I, 

1900-14. Berlin: Judischer Verlag, 1916. Vol. II, 1916-20. BerUn: 

Judischer Verlag, 1921. 
(editor) JUdische KUnstler. Berlin: Judischer Verlag, 1903. 
Kalewala. Munich: Georg Muller, 1914. 
Kampf um Israel. Reden und Schriften (1921-32). Berlin: Schocken 

Verlag, 1933. 
Konigtum Gottes. Vol. I of Das Kommende. Untersuchungen der Ent- 

stehungsgeschichte des messianischen Glaubens. Berlin: Schocken 

Verlag, 1932; 2nd enlarged ed., 1936. 3rd rev. ed., Schneider, 1956. 
Die Legende des Baalschem. Frankfurt am Main: Riitten & Loening, 

*Lesser Ury,' JUdische Kunstler. Edited by Martin Buber. Berlin: 

Judischer Verlag, 1903, pp. 45-71. 
Mein Weg zum Chassidismus. Erinnerungen. Frankfurt am Main: 

Rutten& Loening, 1918. 
Moses. Heidelberg: Verlag Lambert Schneider, 1952. 
*Nach dem Tod,' MUnchener Neuesten Nachrichten, February 8, 1928. 
*Offenbarung und Gesetz' (from letters to Franz Rosenzweig), Almanack 

des Schocken Verlags aufdas Jahr 5697 (1936/37). Berlin: Schocken 

Verlag, pp. 147-154. 
Pfade in Utopia. Heidelberg: Verlag Lambert Schneider, 1950. 


Das Problem des Menschen. Heidelberg: Verlag Lambert Schneider, 

Die Rede, die Lehre, und das Lied. Leipzig: Insel- Verlag, 1920. Includes 

Buber's introductory essays to Ekstatische Konfessionen, Reden und 

Gleichnisse des Tschuang-Tse, and Kalewala. 
Reden iiber Erziehung. Heidelberg: Verlag Lambert Schneider, 1953. 
Reden iiber das Judentum. Frankfurt am Main: Riitten & Loening, 1923. 

Reissued by Schocken Verlag, Berlin: 1932. 
Reden und Gleichnisse des Tschuang-Tse. Leipzig: Insel-Verlag, 1914. 
'Religion und Gottesherrschaft, Besprechung von Leonhard Ragaz, 

Weltreich, Religion und Gottesherrschaft' Frankfurter Zeitung, 

*Literaturblatt,' No. 9, April 27, 1923. 
'Religion und modernes Denken,' Merkur, Vol. VI, No. 2 (February 

1952), pp. 101-120. 
'Religion und Philosophic,' Europdische Revue, August 1929, pp. 325- 

Die Schrift. Translation of the Bible from Hebrew into German by 

Martin Buber in co-operation with Franz Rosenzweig. Berlin: 

Schocken Verlag, 14 vols. Revised edition, Jakob Hegner Verlag, 

Koln and Olten, 1954-60. 4 vols.: Die fUnf Bucher der Weisunp, 

Biicher der Geschichte, Biicher der Kundung, Die Schrijtwerke. 
With Franz Rosenzweig. Die Schrift und ihrer Verdeutschung. Berlin : 

Schocken Verlag, 1936. 
Die Schriften iiber das dialogische Prinzip. Heidelberg: Verlag Lambert 

Schneider, 1954. (Includes Ich und Du, Zwiesprache, Die Frage an den 

Einzelnen, 'Elemente des Zwischenmenschlichen,* and 'Nachwort,' 

the last two not previously published in book form.) 
Die Stunde und die Erkenntnis, Reden und Aufsdtze, 1933-35. Berlin: 

Schocken Verlag, 1936. 
*Ueber Jakob Bohme,' Wiener Rundschau, Vol. V, No. 12 (June 15, 

1901), pp. 251-253. 
Urdistanz und Beziehung. Heidelberg: Verlag Lambert Schneider, 1951. 
Das verborgene Licht, Frankfurt am Main: Riitten & Loening, 1924. 
(editor) Die vier Zweige des Mabinogi. Leipzig: Insel-Verlag, 1914. 
Vom Geist des Judentums. Leipzig: Kurt Wolff Verlag, 1916. 
'Vorbemerkung' to Hermann Cohen, Der Ndchste. Berlin: Schocken 

Verlag, 1935. 
Der Weg des Menschen, Nach der chassidischen Lehre. Jerusalem: 

copyright by Martin Buber, 1948, printed in the Netherlands by 

'Pulvis Viarum* Press. 
Worte an die Jugend. Berlin: Schocken Verlag, 1938. 
'Ein Wort iiber Nietzsche und die Lebenswerte,' Kunst und Leben, 

Berlin, December 1900. 
Zion als Ziel und Aufgabe. Beriin: Schocken Verlag, 1936. 


*Zur Situation der Philosophic' Library of the Xth International 

Congress of Philosophy (Amsterdam, August 11-18, 1948), Vol. I: 

Proceedings of the Congress, p. 317 f. 
Zwei Glaubensweisen. Zurich: Manesse Verlag, 1950. 
Zwiesprache. Berlin: Schocken Verlag, 1932. 
Zwischen Gesellschaft undStaat. Heidelberg: Verlag Lambert Schneider, 

'Zwischen Religion und Philosophic' (answer to Hugo Bergmann's 

criticism of Eclipse of God), Neue Wege, Vol. XL VII, No. 11/12 

(November/December 1953), pp. 436-439. 
Das Sehertum ('Abraham der Seher' and 'Prophetic, Apokalyptik und 

die Geschichtliche Stunde'), Koln, Jacob Hegner, 1955. 


Books Entirely or in Some Large Part about Buber 

Agus, Jacob. Modern Philosophies of Judaism. New York : Behrman's 

Jewish Book House, 1941. 
Berl, Heinrich. Martin Buber und die Wiedergeburt des Judentums aus 

dem Geiste der Mystik. Heidelberg: 1924. 
Blumenfeld, Walter. La Antropologia Filosdfica de Martin Buber y la 

Filosofia Antropologica, Un Ensayo. Sociedad Peruana de Filosofia, 

Colleccion 'Plena Luz, Pleno Ser,' # 6. Lima: Tipograjfia Santa 

Rosa, S.A., 1951. 
Friedman, Maurice S. Martin Buber: Mystic, Existentialist, Social 

Prophet — A Study in the Redemption of Evil. Doctoral dissertation 

for the University of Chicago, June 1950. The University of 

Chicago Library, Microfilm # T 809. 
Goldschmidt, Hermann Levin. Hermann Cohen und Martin Buber, Ein 

Jahrhundert Ringen um jUdische Wirklichkeit. Geneva: Editions 

Migdal, 1946. 
Goldstein, Walter. Begegnung mit Martin Buber. Jerusalem: Edition 

Dr. Peter Freund, 1943. 
Die Botschaft Martin Bubers. Vol. I — Die vordialogische Epoche. 
Jerusalem: Edition Dr. Peter Freund, 1952. Vol. II— Der Dialogik 
universaler Teil, 1953. Vol. Ill— Von der Bibel, 1956. 
Gottes Wittwer und Gottes Boten. Eine vergleichende Betrachtung von 

Existentialismus und Dialogik, Jean-Paul Sartre und Martin Buber. 

Jerusalem: Edition Dr. Peter Freund, 1948. 
Hansischer Goethe-Preis, 1951, Stiftung F.V.S. Hamburg, presented on 

June 24, 1953. Includes 'Ansprache des Rektors Prof. Dr. Bruno 

Sneir and Buber's 'Geltung und Grenze.' Hamburg: Gebriider 

Hoesch, 1953. 



Kohn, Hans. Martin Buber, sein Werk und seine Zeit. Ein Versuch 
liber Religion und Politik. Hellerau: Jakob Hegner Verlag, 1930. 

Maringer, Simon. Martin Bubers Metaphysik der Dialogik im Zusam- 
menhang neuerer philosophischer und theologischer Stroemungen — 
Darstellung und Kritik. Koln : Buchdruckerei Steiner, Ulrichgasse, 

Michel, Wilhelm. Martin Buber. Sein Gang in die Wirklichkeit. Frank- 
furt am Main: Riitten & Loening, 1926. 

Nigg, Walter. Martin Bubers Weg in unserer Zeit. First issue of Religiose 
Gegenwartsfragen, Bausteine zu einem kommenden ProtestantismuSy 
edited by Josef Boni and Walter Nigg. Bern : Verlag Paul Haupt, 

Oldham, Joseph Houldsworth. Real Life Is Meeting. London: The 
Sheldon Press; New York: The Macmillan Co., 1947. 

Pfeutze, Paul E. The Social Self, In the Writings of George Herbert 
Mead and Martin Buber. New York: Bookman Associates, 1954. 

Rosenzweig, Franz, and Strauss, Ludwig (editors). Aus unbekannten 
Schriften. Festgabe fUr Martin Buber. Berlin: Lambert Schneider 
Verlag, 1928. 

Schulweis, Harold M. *The Personahstic Philosophy of Martin Buber.' 
Master's Thesis, New York University, May 1, 1948. 

Weltsch, Robert (editor). *Sonderheft zu Martin Bubers fiinfzigstem 
Geburtstag,' Der Jude, Vol. X, No. 5 (March 1928). 

Articles and Portions of Books about Buber 

Bachelard, Gaston. 'Preface' to Martin Buber, Je et Tu, translated 
from Ich und Du by Genevieve Bianquis. Paris: Fernand Aubier, 
Editions Montaigne, 1938, pp. 7-15. 

Badt-Strauss, Bertha. 'Martin Buber,' The Jewish Spectator, Vol. XIII 
(May 1948), p. 22 f. 

Martin Buber. Fiinf Ansprachen anldsslich der Verleihung des Friedens- 
preises des Deutschen Buchhandels, 1953. Frankfurt am Main: 
Borsenverein Deutscher Verleger- und Buchhandler-Verbande, 
1953. Also in Borsenblatt, Frankfurter Aufgabe, 1953, No. 79. 

Baillie, John. Our Knowledge of God. New York: Charles Scribner's 
Sons, 1939, pp. 161, 201-239. 

Berdyaev, Nicholas. 'Martin Buber. Die chassidischen Buecher; Ich 
und Du; Zwiesprache; Koenigtum Gottes I.' Put\ Organ russkoi 
religioznoi mysli (also under French title Voie). Paris. No. 38 (May 
1933), pp. 87-91. 
Solitude and Society. Translated from the Russian by George Reavey. 
London: Geoffrey Bles, 1938, pp. 72 f., 79-85. 


Berdyczwesky, Emanuel (Emanuel bin Gorion). Ceterum Recenseo, 

Kritische Aufsatze und Reden. Tubingen: Alexander Fischer Verlag, 

1929. 'Eine neue Verdeutschung der Bibel,' pp. 21-38. 
Bergmann, Hugo. 'Begriff und Wirklichkeit. Ein Beitrag zur Philo- 

sophie Martin Bubers and J. G. Fichtes,' Der Jude, Vol. X, No. 5 

(March 1928), *Sonderheft zu Martin Bubers fiinfzigstem Geburts- 

tag,'pp. 89-101. 
Hoge Haddor {Thinkers of the Epoch) (in Hebrew). Tel- Aviv: 

Hoza'ath *Mizpeh/ 5695 (1934-35), pp. 179-193. 
*Der Physiker Whitehead,' Die Kreatur, II (1927-28), 356-363. 
Binswanger, Ludwig. Grundformen und Erkenntnis menschlichen 

Daseins. Zurich: Max Niehans Verlag, 1942. 
Blau, Joseph L. 'Martin Buber, Mamre. Essays in Religion' (Review), 

Jewish Social Studies, X (1948), 397-400. 
*Martin Buber's Religious Philosophy. A Review Article,* Review of 

Religion, XIII (1948), 48-64. 
Bohm, Adolf. Die Zionistische Bewegung bis zum Ende des Weltkrieges. 

2nd enlarged edition. Tel- Aviv: Hozaah Ivrith Co. Ltd., 1935. 

Vol. I, pp. 297 ff., 521-540, 544 f., 572 f. 
Brod, Max. *Zur Problematik des Bosen und des Rituals,* Der Jude, 

Vol. X, No. 5 (March 1928), *Sonderheft zu Martin Bubers 

fiinfzigstem Geburtstag,' p. 109 f. 
Chestov, Leon. *Martin Buber, Un Mystique Juif de Langue Alle- 

mande,' translated from Russian to French by B. de Schloezer, 

Revue Philosophique de la France et de Vttr anger e, CXVI (1933), 

Clarke, Sir Fred. Freedom in the Educative Society. Educational Issues 

of Today, edited by W. R. Niblett. London : University of London 

Press Ltd., 1948, pp. 56-68. 
Coates, J. B. The Crisis of the Human Person. Some Personalist Inter- 
pretations. London: Longmans, Green & Co., 1949, pp. 23 f., 

32-35, 65-81, 158, 240-248. 
Cohen, Arthur A. 'Revelation and Law. Reflections on Martin Buber*s 

Views on Halakah,' Judaism: A Quarterly Journal of Jewish Life 

and Thought, Vol. I, No. 3 (July 1952), pp. 250-256. 
'Eclipse of God.' A Review, Judaism, Vol. II, No. 3 (July 1953), 

pp. 280-283. 
Cullberg, John. Das Du und die Wirklichkeit. Zum ontologischen Hinter- 

grund der Gemeinschaftskategorie. Uppsala: Uppsala Universitets 

Arsskrift, 1933, Vol. I, A. B. Lundeqvistska Bokhandeln, 1933, 

pp. 39-46. 
Eckardt, A. Roy. 'Good and Evil. By Martin Buber.' A Review. The 

Journal of Bible and Religion, Vol. XXII, No. 1 (January 1954), 

p. 46 ff. 


Emmet, Dorothy M. The Nature of Metaphysical Thinking. London: 
Macmillan & Co., Ltd., 1949, pp. 207-214. Cf. also chaps, iii, v, 
and X. 
Feuchtwanger, Ludwig. 'Bibelforschung aus jiidischem Geist. Martin 
Bubers Erneuerung der Bibel aus Geist des Judentums,' Der 
Morgen, Vol. VIII, No. 3 (August 1932), pp. 209-224. 
Flake, Otto. 'Martin Buber,' Neue Rundschau, II (1923), 931 ff. 
Friedman, Maurice S. 'For the Sake of Heaven, A Chronicle.' A 
Review. The Journal of Bible and Religion, Vol. XXII, No. 1 
(January 1954), p. 45 f. 
* Israel and the World, by Martin Buber.' A Review. The Journal of 

Religion, Vol. XXIX, No. 2 (April 1949), p. 158 f. 
'Martin Buber.' Translated from English to French by Jenny 
Thieberger. Allemagne d'Aujourd'hui, Realites Allemandes, pp. 816- 
'Martin Buber and Christian Thought,' The Review of Religion, Vol. 

XVIII, Nos. 1-2 (November 1953), pp. 31-43. 
'Martin Buber at Seventy-Five,' Religion in Life (Summer 1954), 

Vol. XXIII, No. 3, pp. 405-417. 
'Martin Buber's New View of Evil,' Judaism, Vol. 2, No. 3 (July 

1953), pp. 239-246. 
'Martin Buber, Prophet and Philosopher,' Faith Today, Vol. 1, No. 5 

(December- January, 1954-1955). 
'Martin Buber's Theory of Knowledge,' Review of Metaphysics, 

December 1954. 
'Martin Buber's View of BibHcal Faith,' The Journal of Bible and 

Religion, Vol. XXII, No. 1 (January 1954), pp. 3-13. 
'Revelation and Law in the Thought of Martin Buber,' Judaism, 

Vol. Ill, No. 1 (Winter 1954), pp. 9-19. 
'Symbol, Myth, and History in the Thought of Martin Buber,' 
The Journal of Religion, Vol. XXIV, No. 1 (January 1954), 
pp. 1-11. 
Goes, Albrecht. 'Martin Buber ,Der Beistand.' Martin Buber. Friedens- 

preis des Deutschen Buchhandels, 1953, pp. 21-29. 
Gordis, Robert. 'The Culture of Israel' (Review of Buber's Hasidism 
and Israel and the World). New York Herald Tribune, Weekly Book 
Review, February 6, 1949, p. 18. 
Gumbiner, Joseph H. Review of Between Man and Man. Commentary 

V (May 1948), 482 f. 
Hartland-Swann, J. Review of Paths in Utopia. Philosophy, Vol. XXV 

(1950), No. 95, p. 366 f. 
Hartshorne, Charles, and Reese, William L. Philosophers Speak of 
God. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 1953, pp. 302- 


Herberg, Will. *How Can You Say "God"?' Review of Eclipse of God 

and At the Turning. Commentary, Vol. XIV, No. 6 (December 

1952), pp. 615-620. 
Herberg, Will, Judaism and Modern Man, An Interpretation of Jewish 

Religion. New York: Farrar, Straus and Young, 1951. 
'Socialism with Freedom.' Review of Paths in Utopia. Commentary, 

Vol. X (September 1950), p. 289 ff. 
Hermann, Leo. *Aus Tagebuchblattern. I. Erinnerungen an Rubers 

"Drei Reden" in Prag,' Der Jude, Vol. X, No. 5 (March 1928), 

'Sonderheft zu Martin Bubers fiinfzigstem Geburtstag.' 
Hesse, Herman. Briefe. Vol. VIII of Gesammelte Werke. Berlin: 

Suhrkamp Verlag, 1951, pp. 122, 130 ff., 159 f., 289 f., 302 f., 324 ff. 
Heydorn, Heinz- Joachim. * Martin Buber und der SoziaUsmus,' 

Gewerkschaftliche Monatshefte, Vol. IV, No. 12 (December 1953), 

pp. 705-709. 
Honigsheim, Paul. *Besprechung von "Ich und Du,"* Kolner Viertel- 

jahrhefte fiir Soziologie, III (1923-24), 77 f. 
*Martin Buber 70 Jahre alt,' Die Friedens-Warte. Blatter fiir Inter- 
nationale Verstdndigung und zwischenstaatliche Organisation, 

edited by Hans Wehberg. LXVIII (1948), No. 4/5. 
Kogon, Eugene and Thieme, Karl. *Das Portrat: Martin Buber,' 

Frankfurter Hefte. Zeitschrift fiir Kultur und Politik, Vol. VI, 

No. 3 (March 1951), pp. 195-200. 
Kaplan, Mordecai M. *Martin Buber: Theologian, Philosopher and 

Prophet,' The Reconstructionist, May 2, 1952. 
Kerenyi, Karl. 'Martin Buber als Klassiker,' Neue Schweizer Rundschau, 

Vol. XX, No. 2 (June 1952), pp. 89-99. 
Klein, Abraham. 'Three Chapters in Martin Buber's Philosophy' (in 

Hebrew), lyyun, A Hebrew Philosophical Quarterly, Vol. Ill, No. 3 

(July 1952), pp. 136-150. 
Kraus, Hans-Joachim. 'Gesprach mit Martin Buber,' Evangelische 

Theologie (Munich), July-August 1952, pp. 59-77. 
Kuhn, Helmut. Review oi Between Man and Man. Journal of Philosophy , 

XLVI (1949), 75-79. 
Lejeune, R. 'Martin Buber, Zu seinem fiinfundsiebsigsten Geburtstag.' 

Der Aufbau, Schweizerische Woechenzeitung fur Recht, Freiheit und 

Frieden (Zurich), Vol. 34, No. 6 (February 6, 1953), p. 41 f. 
Lewisohn, Ludwig. Cities and Men. New York: Harper & Brothers, 

1927, 'Martin Buber,' pp. 200-212. 
Rebirth, A Book of Modern Jewish Thought. New York: Harper & 

Brothers, 1935, p. 87 ff. 
Liptzin, Solomon. Germany's Stepchildren. Philadelphia: The Jewish 

Publication Society of America, 5074-1944, Chapter xvii— 'Martin 

Buber,' pp. 255-269. 



Michel, Wilhelm. Das Leiden am Ich. Bremen: Carl Schiinemann 

Verlag, 1930, pp. 267-293, ^Martin Bubers Gang in die Wirklich- 

Minkin, Jacob S. The Amazing Martin Buber,' Congress Weekly, 

Vol. XVI (January 17, 1949), p. 10 ff. 
*Buber lifts Moses out of the Mists,' Congress Weekly, Vol. XV 

(February 13, 1948), p. 12. 
Nicodemus (Melville Channing-Pearce). Renascence, An Essay in Faith. 

London: Faber and Faber Ltd., 1943, pp. 67-75, 161 f. 
Oldham, J. H. 'Life as Dialogue,' The Christian News-Letters. Supple- 
ment to No. 281 (March 19, 1947), pp. 7-16. 
Pannwitz, Rudolph. *Der Chassidismus' (a discussion of Buber's 

Hasidism, Tales of the Hasidim, and For the Sake of Heaven), 

Merkur (Munich), Vol. VIII (1954), pp. 810-830. 
Paul, Leslie Allen. The Meaning of Human Existence. Philadelphia and 

New York: J. P. Lippincott Co., 1950, pp. 24, 90 f., 110, 129 ff., 

136-140, 148-153, 158, 182 f., 192 ff., 197 f., 227-232. 
Pfeiffer, Johannes. *Zwiesprache mit Martin Buber,' Eckart (Berlin), 

XXI (February-March 1952), 219-228. 
Pfuetze, Paul E. 'Martin Buber and Jewish Mysticism,' Religion in Life, 

XVI (1947), 553-567. 
Przywara, Erich, S.J. 'Judentum und Christentum,' Stimme der Zeit, CX 

(1925-1926), 81-99. Reprinted in Przywara's Das Ringen der Zeit. 
Read, Herbert. Education Through Art. New York: Pantheon Books, 

1945, 2nd Edition, pp. 137 f., 279-289. 
Reeves, Marjorie. Growing up in a Modern Society. London : University 

of London Press, 1946, pp. 9-12, 34-38. 
Rosenheim, Jacob. Beitrdge zur Orientierung im jiidischen Geistesleben 

der Gegenwart. Zurich: Verlag 'Arzenu,' 5680, 1920, Chapter II— 

'Martin Buber und sein Kreis,' pp. 6-32. 
Rosenzweig, Franz. 'Aus Bubers Dissertation,' Aus unbekannten 

Schriften. Festgabe fUr Martin Buber, edited by Karl Joel. Berlin: 

Lambert Schneider Verlag, 1928, pp. 240-244. 
'Die Bauleute. Ueber das Gesetz. An Martin Buber,' Kleinere 

Schriften. Berlin: Schocken Verlag, 1937, pp. 106-120. 
Briefe, selected and edited by Edith Rosenzweig in co-operation with 

Ernst Simon. Berlin: Schocken Verlag, 1935, pp. 371, 437, 443 f., 

503 ff., 542, 546, 553, 561 f., 608 ff., 613, 630, 633. Cf. also letter 

'Martin Buber,' Judisches Lexikon. Berlin: Jlidischer Verlag, 1927, 

Vol. I, cols. 1189 and 1190. 
Rotten, Elizabeth. 'Aus den Offenbarungen der Schwester Mechtild 

von Magdeburg,' Aus t ibekannten Schriften. Festgabe fur Martin 

Buber. Berlin: Lambert Schneider Verlag 1928, p. 65 f. 


Sborowitz, Arie. *Beziehung und Bestimmung. Die Lehren von Martin 
Buber und C. G. Jung in ihrem Verhaltnis zueinander,' Psyche. 
Bine Zeitschrift fur Tiefenpsychologie und Menschenkunde in 
Forschung und Praxis, Heidelberg, II (1948), 9-56. 
Schulweis, Harold. *Crisis Theology and Martin Buber,' Review of 
Religion, Vol. XIV, No. 1 (November 1949), pp. 38-42. 
'Martin Buber: An Interview,* The Reconstructionist, New York; 
Vol. XVII, No. 3 (March 21, 1952), pp. 7-10. 
Simon, Ernst. *Martin Buber: His Way between Thought and Deed' 
(on his 70th anniversary), Jewish Frontier, Vol. XV, No. 2 
(February 1948), pp. 25-28. 
'Religious Humanism,' Goethe and the Modern Age, edited by Arnold 
Bergstraesser. Chicago: Henry Regnery, 1950, pp. 304-325. 
Smith, Constance I. The Single One and the Other,' Hibbert Journal, 

XLVI (1948), 315-321. 
Smith, Ronald Gregor. Translator's Introduction,' / and Thou, by 

Martin Buber. Edinburgh: T. & T. Clark, 1937, pp. v-xii. 
Susman, Margaret. 'Die Botschaft der chassidischen Mystik an unsere 
Zeit,' Der Jude, Vol. X, No. 5 (March 1928), 'Sonderheft zu Martin 
Bubers fiinfzigstem Geburtstag.' 
Tepfer, John J. 'Martin Buber's Neo-Mysticism,' Yearbook of the 

Central Conference of American Rabbis, XLIV (1934). 
Thieme, Karl. 'Martin Buber als Interpret der Bibel,' Zeitschrift fur 
Religions- und Geistesgeschichte (Koln), Vol. VI, No. 1 (1954), 
pp. 1-9. 
Tillich, Paul. 'Jewish Influences on Contemporary Christian Theology,' 
Cross Currents, Vol. II, No. 3 (Spring 1952), pp. 38-42. 
'Martin Buber and Christian Thought,' Commentary, Vol. V, No. 6 
(June 1948), pp. 515-521. 
Triib, Hans. Heilung aus der Begegnung. Fine Auseinandersetzung mit 
der Psychologic C. G. Jungs, edited by Ernst Michel and Arie 
Sborowitz. Stuttgart: Ernst Klett Verlag, 1952. 
'Individuation, Schuld und Entscheidung. tJber die Grenzen der 
Psychologic,' Die kulturelle Bedeutung der komplexen Psychologic, 
edited by Psychologischen Club Zurich. BerUn: Julius Springer 
Verlag, 1935, pp. 529-555. 
'Vom Selbst zur Welt, Der zwiefache Auftrag des Psychotherapeuten,' 
Psyche, Heidelberg, I (1947), 41-67. Also to have appeared as a 
book: Zurich: R. Romer, Speer- Verlag, 1947. 
Van der Hoop, J. H. 'Religion as a Psychic Necessity,' Psyche, London, 

Vol. VII, No. 4 (April 1927), pp. 102-119. 
Von Hammerstein, Franz. 'Martin Bubers messianische Hoff'nung und 
ihr Verhaltnis zu seiner Philosophic.' Judaica (Zurich), Vol. X, 
No. 2 (June 1, 1954), pp. 65-104. 



Weltsch, Felix. Treiheit und Bindung in Nationalismus und Religio- 

sitat; Der Judey ol X, No. 5 (March 1928), *Sonderheft zu Martin 

Bubers fiinfzigstem Geburtstag,' pp. 86-89. 
Weltsch, Robert. *Martin Buber,' JUdisches Lexikon. Berlin: Jiidischer 

Verlag, 1927, Vol. I, cols. 1190-1192. 
Werner, Alfred. *Buber at Seventy,* Congress Weekly, Vol. XV 

(February 13, 1948), p. 10 f. 
Wilker, Karl. *Martin Buber,' Neue Wege, Vol. XVII, No. 4 (April 

1923), pp. 183-191. 
Wodehouse, Helen. *Martin Buber's "I and Thou,'" Philosophy, XX 

(1945), 17-30. 
Review of Paths in Utopia, The Fortnightly, No. 1001 (May 1950), 

pp. 326-332. 
Wolf, Ernst M. *Martiii Buber and German Jewry, Prophet and 

Teacher to a Generation in Catastrophe,' Judaism, Vol. I, No. 4 

(October 1952), 346-352. 
For other articles on Buber see the bibliography in Hans Kohn, 
Martin Buber, sein Werk und seine Zeit, 


Barth, Karl. Die kirchliche Dogmatik, Vol. Ill: Die Lehre von der 

Schopfung, Second Part (published separately). Zurich: Evangeli- 

scher Verlag, A. G. Zollikon, 1948, 'Die Grundform der Mensch- 

lichkeit,' pp. 265-340. 
Berdyaev, Nicholas. Solitude and Society (see section above for facts of 

publication). Third and Fifth Meditations. 
Binswanger, Ludwig. Grundformen und Erkenntnis menschlichen 

Daseins (see above). 
Brunner, Emil. Man in Revolt, A Christian Anthropology. Translated 

by Olive Wyon. Philadelphia: The Westminster Press, 1947. 
Wahrheit als Begegnung, Sechs Vorlesungen iiber das christliche 

Wahrheitsverstdndnis. Berlin: Furche-Verlag, 1938, translated as 

The Divine Human Encounter (Philadelphia: The Westminster 

Press, 1943; London: S.C.M. Press, 1944). 
CuUberg, John. Das Du und die Wirklichkeit (see above). 
Ebner, Ferdinand. Das Wort und die geistigen Realitdten, Pneumato- 

logische Fragmente. Innsbruck: Brenner- Verlag, 1921. 
Farmer, Herbert H. The Servant of the Word. New York: Charles 

Scribner's Sons, 1942, Chapter II— 'The I-Thou Relationship.' 
The World and God, A Study of Prayers, Providence, and Miracle in 

Christian Experience. London: Nisbet & Co., 1935. 
Feuerbach, Ludwig. Grundsdtze der Philosophie der Zukunft (1843). 



Fison, J. E. The Blessing of the Holy Spirit. London: Longmans, Green 
& Co., 1950. 

Frankfort, H. and H. A. 'Myth and Reality,' The Intellectual Adventure 
of Ancient Man, An Essay on Speculative Thought in the Ancient 
Near East. By H. and H. A. Frankfort, John A. Wilson, Thorkild 
Jacobsen, and William A. Irwin. Chicago: The University of 
Chicago Press, 1946. 

Gogarten, Friedrich. Glaube und Wirklichkeit. Jena: Eugen Diedrichs 
Verlag, 1928. 
Ich glaube an den dreieinigen Gott. Eine Untersuchung iiber Glauben 
und Geschichte. Jena: Eugen Diedrichs Verlag, 1926. 

Grisebach, Eberhard. Gegenwart. Eine kritische Ethik, 1928. 

Guardini, Romano. Welt und Person. Versuche zur christlichen Lehre 
vom Menschen. Wlirzburg: Werkbund- Verlag, 1950 (3rd un- 
changed edition). 

Heim, Karl. Glaube und Denken, Vol. I of Der evangel is che Glaube und 
das Denken der Gegenwart. Grundzuge einer christlichen Lebens- 
anschauung. BerHn: Furche- Verlag, 1931, 1st edition. 
God Transcendent, Foundation for a Christian Metaphysic. Translated 
from the third revised and shortened edition of Glaube und Denken 
by Edgar Primrose Dickie. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 

Herberg, Will. Judaism and Modern Man (see above). 

Howe, Reuel L. Man's Need and God's Answer. Greenwich, Conn.: 
The Seabury Press, 1952. 

Hutchins, Robert Maynard. *Goethe and the Unity of Mankind,' 
Goethe and the Modern Age, edited by Arnold Bergstraesser. 
Chicago: Henry Regnery Co., 1950, pp. 385-402. 

Jaspers, Karl. Philosophic, Vol. II — Exist enzerhellung (1932). 

Keyserling, Graf Hermann. Das Buch vom Ur sprung. Baden-Baden: 
Verlag Hans Biihler Junior, 1947 (special edition for Internatio- 
nalen Keyserling-Gesellschaft) ; copyright 1942 by Eugen Diedrichs 
Verlag, Jena. Chapters — *Das Zwischenreich,' 'Instinkt und 
Intuition,' 'Gleichgiiltigkeit und Liebe.' 

Die Kreatur, a periodical devoted primarily to religion and education, 
edited by Martin Buber, Viktor von Weizsacker, and Joseph 
Wittig. Berlin: Verlag Lambert Schneider, 1926-30. 

Goldschmidt, Hermann Levin. Philosophie als Dialogik. Affoltern a. 
A.: Aehren Verlag, 1948. 

Litt, Theodor. Individuum und Gemeinschaft . Grundlegung der Kultur- 
philosophie. 2nd edition, 1923. 

Lowith, Karl. Das Individuum in der Rolle des Mitmenschen. Ein Beitrag 
zur anthropologischen Grundlegung der ethischen Probleme. Munich : 
Drei Masken Verlag, 1928. 



Macmurray, John. The Structure of Religious Experience. Terry 

Lectures. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1936. Chapter II 

— The Self in Religious Reflection.' 
Marcel, Gabriel. Being and Having. Translated from £tre et Avoir by 

Katherine Farrer. Westminster: Dacre Press, 1949. 
Journal Metaphysique. Paris: Librairie Gallimard, 1927. Second 

Part, pp. 135-303. 
Michel, Ernst. Der Partner Gottes. Stuttgart: 1948. 
Nedoncelle, Maurice. La Reciprocite des Consciences. Paris: Aubier. 

Editions Montaigne, 1942. 
Niebuhr, Reinhold. The Self and the Dramas of History. New York: 

Charles Scribner's Sons, 1955. 
Ricoeur, Paul. Gabriel Marcel et Karl Jaspers, Philosophie du Mystere 

et Philosophie du Paradoxe. Paris: Editions du Temps Present. 

1947. Cf. especially Part II, Chapter II — 'Le "toi" et la "com- 
Riezler, Kurt. "What Is Public Opinion?', Social Research, XI (1944). 

Rosenstock-Huessey, Eugen. Angewandte Seelenkunde. Darmstadt: 

Roethenverlag, 1924. 
Der A tern des Geistes. Frankfurt am Main: Verlag der Frankfurter 

Hefte, 1951. 
Rosenzweig, Franz. 'Das neue Denken,' Kleine Schriften, by Franz 

Rosenzweig. Berlin: Schocken Verlag, 1935. 
Der Stern der Erlosung, 3rd Edition. Heidelberg: Verlag Lambert 

Schneider, 1954. 
Scheler, Max. Wesen und Formen der Sympathie. 2nd edition, 1923. 

English translation Mature of Sympathy. London: Routledge & 

Kegan Paul; New Haven: Yale University Press, 1954. 
Steinbiichel, Theodor. Christliche L^benshaltungen in der Krisis der 

Zeit und des Menschen. Frankfurt am Main: Verlas Joseph 

Knecht, 1949. 
Tillich, Paul. Biblical Religion and the Search for Ultimate Reality. 

Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 1955. 
Tournier, Paul. The Meaning of Persons, New York: Harper & Row, 

Weizsacker, Viktor von. Arzt und Kranker, Vol. I, 3rd edition. Stutt- 
gart: K. F. Koehler Verlag, 1949, 'Stucke einer medizinischen 

Anthropologic,' pp. 79-179. 
Wust, Peter. Naivitdt und Pietdt. Tubingen: Verlag von J. C. B. 

Mohr (Paul Siebeck), 1925. 

See also the bibliographies in Cullberg, in Levin-Goldschmidt. and 
in Rosenstock-Huessey, Der Atem des Geistes. 




Der Mensch und sein Gebild. Heidelberg: Lambert Schneider, 1955. 

'Elements of the Interhuman,' trans, by Ronald Gregor Smith, Psy- 
chiatry, Vol. XX, No. 2 (May 1957), pp. 105-129. 

'Erinherung' Die Neue Rundschau Vol. LXVIII (1957), No. 4, p. 
575 ff. 

Fourth William Alanson White Memorial Lectures ('Distance and 
Relation,' 'Elements of the Interhuman,' 'Guilt and Guilt Feel- 
ings'). Reprints 75^, Psychiatry, 1610 New Hampshire Ave., 
N.W., Washington 9, D.C. 

'Guilt and Guilt Feelings,' trans, by Maurice S. Friedman, Psychiatry, 
Vol. XX, No. 2 (May 1957), pp. 114-129. 

Hasidism and Modern Man, Vol. I of Hasidism and the Way of Man. 
Edited and trans, by Maurice Friedman. New York: The Hori- 
zon Press, 1958. 

'Hermann Hesses Dienmost am Geist,' Neue Deutsche Heste No. 37 
(Aug. 1957), pp. 387-393. 

'Israel and the Command of the Spirit,' trans, by Maurice Friedman, 
Congress weekly, XXV, No. 14 (Sept. 8, 1958), p. 10 ff. 

The Kingship of God. New York: Harper & Brothers, 1961 or 1962. 

The Origin and Meaning of Hasidism, Vol. II of Hasidism and the 
Way of Man. Edited and trans, by Maurice Friedman. New 
York: The Horizon Press, 1960. 

Schuld und Schuldgefuehle. Heidelberg: Lambert Schneider, 1958. 

Stationen des Glaubens. Aus dem Schriften gesammelten. Wiesbaden: 
Insel, 1960. 

Tales of Rabbi Nachman. Trans, by Maurice Friedman. New York: 
The Horizon Press, 1956. 

'What Is Common to All,' trans, by Maurice Friedman, Review of 
Metaphysics, Vol. XI, No. 3 (March 1958), pp. 359-379. 


Cohen, Arthur A. Martin Buber. Studies in Modem European Litera- 
ture and Thought. New York: Hillary House, 1957. 

Diamond, Malcolm. Martin Buber, Jewish Existentialist (tentative 
title). New York: Oxford University Press, 1960. 

Farber, Leslie H. 'Martin Buber and Psychiatry,' Psychiatry, Vol. 
XIX, No. 2 (May 1956), pp. 109-120. 

Farber, Leslie H.; Friedman, Maurice S.; Howe, Reuel L. 'Martin 
Buber and Psychotherapy,' Pastoral Psychology, Vol. VII, No. 
69 (December 1956). 

Friedman, Maurice S. 'Dialogue and the "Essential We": The Bases 


of Values in the Philosophy of Martin Buber,' American Journal 
of Psychoanalysis, Vol. XX, No. 1 (May 1960). 
'Healing through Meeting: Martin Buber and Psychotherapy,' 

Cross Currents, Vol. V, No. 4 (Fall 1955). 
'Martin Buber and the Social Problems of Our Time,' Yivo Annual, 

'Martin Buber's Biblical Judaism,' CCAR Journal, No. 24, Jan- 
uary 1959. 
'Martin Buber's Concept of Education: A New Approach to Col- 
lege Teaching,' Christian Scholar, Vol. VL, No. 2 (June 1957). 
'Martin Buber's Life and Thought,' Vol. Ill: Modern Jewish 
Thinkers, and 'Martin Buber Anthology,' Vol. IV: Modern 
Jewish Thought of the B'nai B'rith Great Books Series, ed. by 
Simon Noveck. New York: Farrar, Straus & Cudahy, 1960. 
'Martin Buber's "Theology" and Religious Education,' Religious 

Education, Vol. LIV, No. 1 (January-Februar>', 1959). 
'Martin Buber's Theory of Education,' Educational Theory, Vol. 
VI, No. 2 (April 1956). 

Friedman, Maurice S., Editor, 'Martin Buber' Section, Interrogations 
of Contemporary Philosophers, ed. by Sidney C. Rome. New 
Haven: Yale Univ. Press, 1960. 

Friedman, Maurice S., and Schilpp, Paul Arthur, Editors, The Phi- 
losophy of Martin Buber, volume of The Library of Living 
Philosophers, Stuttgart: W. Kohlhammer Verlag, 1962; La Salle, 
111.: Open Court Publ. Co., 1963. 

Herberg, Will. Four Existentialist Theologians. Anthology. New York: 
Doubleday Anchor Books, 1958, pp. 169-253. 

Herberg, Will, editor with introduction. The Writings of Martin 
Buber. New York: Meridian Books, 1956. 

Sainio, Matti A. Pddagogisches Denken bei Martin Buber. Jyvaskyla: 
Verlag von Jyvaskylan Ylipistoyhdistys, 1955. 

Simon, Ernst. 'Martin Buber and the Faith of Israel,' lyyun (Hebrew), 
Philosophical Quarterly (Jerusalem), IX, No. 1 (1958), pp. 

Trapp, Jacob, Editor. Martin Buber, To Hallow This Life, anthology 
with introductory essay. New York: Harper & Brothers, 1958. 

Urs von Balthasar, Hans. Einsame Zwiesprache. Martin Buber und 
das Christentum. Koln and Olten: Jakob Hegner Verlag, 1958. 

Von Hammerstein, Franz. Das Messias Problem bei Martin Buber, 
Vol. I of Studia Delitzschiana. Stuttgart: Kohlhammer, 1958. 

Wasmuth, Ewald. 'Martin Buber. Prophet in verdunkelter Zeit,' Die 
Neue Rundschau, 1957, IV. 



Abraham, 249, 253, 255 ff. ; temptation 

of, 253 
Absolute, the, 38, 41 f., 71, 111, 115 ff., 

129 ff., 147, 206, 225 f., 229 f., 235, 

237, 262, 281 ; covenant with the con- 
crete, 115,230,235 
Absolute Person, 225 f., 244, 275 
absolutism, moral, 200 ff., 204 
abstraction, 115, 168-71, 173, 202, 211, 

action, 29 f., 32 f., 51, 62, 65, 67, 70, 72, 

75, 83, 106, 133, 141, 146, 261 f., 272; 

not to be divorced from intention, 

261 f. 
Adam, 90, 105, 108, 219, 241; fall of, 

105, 108 
adult education, 182 f., 266; German 

Jewish, 266; in Israel, 182 f. 
altruism, 203, 205, 273 
Amos, 248, 251, 254 
analyst-patient relationship, 188-97 
animals, 28, 49, 79-82, 173 
antinomianism, 110, 263 f. 
apocalypticism, 117f., 141, 154, 247, 

appearance, 85 ff., 97; overcoming of, 

86 f., 97; tendency toward, 86, 97 
art, 4, 62 f., 77, 81, 166 f., 170 f.. 173, 237 
asceticism, 21 f., 136, 174 
atheism, 13, 114, 129 
Augustine, Saint, 44, 270, 274 
autonomy, communal, 46 f., 210-14, 

218; individual, 81 f., 88, 126, 212; 

of man, 228, 240 f., 273 f. ; of the wiU, 

198 f. 
awareness, 90, 94 fT., 167 f., 171, 195 f.; 

monological vs. dialogical, 90; of 

direction, 94 ff., 198, 206; of the self, 

108, 198, 206; of the 'signs,' 90, 167 f. 

Baal-Shem, the, 17, 30, 150 
BaiUie, John, 162 n., 228, 268 

Barth, Karl, 71, 268, 272 ff., 274 n. 1, 275 
becoming, 52 f., 73, 81, 169, 225 ff. 
behaviouristic psychology, 184 f. 
being, 52 f., 73, 115, 130 f., 163, 167, 170, 

225 ff., 246; and becoming, 52 f., 73, 

81, 225 ff.; ground of. 226 
bending back on oneself, see reflexion 
Berdyaev, Nicholas, 162 n., 165, 268, 271 
Bergson, Henri, 13, 53, 163, 174 f. 
between, the sphere of, 57, 60, 76, 85 f., 

200, 202, 209 f., 271,273 
betweenness, 62 f., 188 f., 191, 193, 196, 

200, 202, 209 f., 270, 273 
Bible, the Hebrew, 77, 92, 105, 107, 119, 

138, 148, 185 n. 1, 234-57, 258, 275-78; 

anthropomorphism of, 247; Buber- 

Rosenzweig translation of, 77, 239, 

257, 258; interpretation of, 77, 234-57, 

261, 269 
Biblical covenant, 109, 158, 247, 250 ff., 

256, 259 f.; faith, 236-57, 275-8; 

history, 236 ff., 243 ff., 247 ff., 254 
Binswanger, Ludwig, 162 n., 187 
Blake, WiUiam, 173 
body-politic, 89, 93, 146, 208 
Bohm, Adolf, 259 
Boehme, Jacob, 27, 94 
Brunner, Emil, 162 n., 234, 268, 272, 

274 n. 1, 278 
Buber, Martin, life of, 8 f., personality of, 

5f., 8 ff.; style of, 6f. 
Buddha, the, 225 
Burckhardt, Jacob, 44 

Cain, 105 
capitalism, 47, 210 
Cassirer, Ernst, 232 f. 
categorical imperative, 199 f. 
categories of thought, lM-71, 173, 189 
causality, 39, 58, 65, 67 f., 163, 170 
centralistic political principle, 212-15, 
217 f., 220 



centralization of the state, 46 f., 123, 


Channing-Pearce, Melville, 227, 271 f. 

character, education of, 146, 180-3 

child, the, 60, 83 f., 93., 119, 164 f., 176- 

chosen people, the, 233, 250 ff. 

Christ, 117, 158, 242 f., 245, 255, 272, 
275-8; faith in, 276 f. {see also pistis); 
resurrection of, 276, 278 

Christian, the, 132, 242 f., 278 ff. 

Christian thought, 268-75, 278 f. 

Christianity, 117, 242, 245, 268-80 

citizenship, 215, 218 

civilization, 116ff., 120, 142, 237; 
hallowing of, 142; of dialogue, 220; 
original principle of, 116 f., 120 

Clarke, Sir Fred., 178 f. 

client-centered therapy, 191-4 

Coates, J. B., 227 

Cohen, Hermann, 258 

collective, the, 123, 126 f., 146, 201, 208, 
210, 214 

collectivism, 123, 126 f., 146, 180, 182, 
201 f., 208 

commune, the, 216 f. 

communication, 28, 51 f., 86 f., 166, 
180, 219 f.; absence of, 125, 219 f. 

communities, federation of, 46, 210, 212, 
215 f. 

community, 36, 43-9, 62, 64 f., 76 f., 93 f., 
113, 117, 120, 122 f., 139, 144 ff., 154, 
158, 182, 196 f., 208-18,220,244,251 f., 
259 f., 282; autonomy of, 46 f., 210-14, 
218; boundary to membership in, 94; 
education for, 146; hallowing of 
community life, 144 ff., 154, 158, 251 f.; 
Jewish, 216 f., 259; life, 144 ff., 154, 
158, 211; of communities, 210, 212, 
215 f.; organic, 45 f., 122 f., 127, 210, 
214; organic, decay of, 122 f., 127, 
210; true, 46 f., 144 ff., 211, 220 

concrete, the, 9, 112, 115, 136 f., 143, 
188, 202-7, 229 f., 235, 282; covenant 
with the absolute, 115, 230, 235 

concreteness, 58, 78, 88, 96, 112, 115, 
118, 132, 136, 145, 163, 171, 177, 202- 
207, 229 f., 233, 271,282 

conditioning influences, social and 
psychological, 67 f., 126, 195, 210 

confirmation, 81 f., 86, 97, 107 ff., 126, 
147, 191 f., 196, 205, 217, 221 ; by one- 
self, 108, 126; capacity for, 81; 

mutual, 81 f., 97; need for, 86, 97, 
126; of patient by therapist, 191 f. 

conflict, 29, 89 f., 107 

conscience, 94, 103 f., Ill, 122, 145, 147, 

contradiction, the, 68 f., 90 f., 110, 112, 
114, 117, 134, 137, 143, 147, 149 f., 
157 f., 185 f., 211, 251, 282; eternal, 
the, 110, 157 f., 251; experienced as 
theophany, 143, 282; inner, 68 f., 90 f., 
117, 137, 185 f.; of existence, 110, 112, 
114, 121, 134, 143, 147, 149 f., 157 f.; 
of existing society, 211; that cuts world 
off from God, 282; tragedy of, the, 
251, 282 

contraries, unity of, 3, 71 

conversation, genuine, 81 f., 87, 123 f., 

Coomaraswamy, Ananda K., 167, 231 

co-operatives, 210, 215 ff.; full, 215 ff. 

covenant, the, 109, 115, 139 f., 159, 
250 ff., 256, 264, 277; between god- 
head and manhood, 247, 277; God of 
the, 252; of the absolute with the con- 
crete, 1 15, 161 ; of God with the people 
Israel, 109, 158, 247, 250 ff., 256, 259 f., 
264, 277; Sinai, 250 ff., 256 

creation, 52 f., 87 f., 93, 95 f., 103, 106. 
108, 110, 112, 138 f., 141 ff., 152-5, 
176, 198, 200, 207, 228 f., 237, 240-4, 
247, 249, 254 ff., 262, 269, 282; 
completed by help of man as co- 
creator, 71, 269; Gnostic rejection of, 
142; goal of, 198, 200, 207; takes place 
at every moment, 141, 262 

creativity, 31,35, 37, 51,65 f. 

crisis, modem, 125-32, 208, 217; of self, 
68 f., 107-11, 121; of temptation, 
freedom, and dishonesty, 121 f. 

crowd, the, 93, 97, 209 

Cullberg, John, 169 n. 2, 228, 271, 273 

cult, 75, 117 f. 

cultural relativism, 5, 79, 128 f., 178, 
181f., 200ff. 

culture, 34, 40, 42, 62, 66, 79, 236 f., 281 ; 
history of, 62 f., 66, 116 f., 236; 
modem westem, 45 ff . ; relation to 
essence of man, 79, 281 

Daniel (book by Martin Buber), 35-9, 

49 f., 57 
D'Arcy, Father M. C, 268, 272 
death, 39, 78, 93, 105, 107 f., 115, 277; 

as a limit of man's existence, 78 



decentralization, 46, 210-18, 220 

decision, 3, 32 f., 38, 43, 65 f., 84, 91, 
95fr., 101, 103-12, 116, 133, 145, 194, 
204, 217, 248, 266, 272 f., against God, 
65, 112; between centralistic and 
spontaneous socialism, 217; between 
the I and the Thou, 272 f. ; to evil, 106- 

decisionlessness, 32 f., 65, 103, 105-8, 

deed, the, 29, 32 f., 38, 121 

democracy, 4, 218 

demonic, the, 109, 121 f., 137, 253; 
meeting with, the, 137, 253 

Descartes, Ren6, 163 f. 

despair, 13, 22, 64 f., 134, 136 f., 153, 
195, 248 

destiny, 62, 66 f., 71, 96, 130, 145, 187 f. 

determinism, 12 f., 27, 36, 47, 67 f., 

Deutero-Isaiah, 158, 247, 253, 255 f., 
259 f., 275 

Dewey, John, 182 

dialectic, 28 f., 35; of conflict and love, 
29; of religion and culture, 40 ff.; 
of unity and multiplicity, 28 f. 

dialogue, 3, 60, 74, 81, 85-97, 103 f., 
Wi-l^l passim\ as essence of educa- 
tion, 176-83; between God and man, 
88, 104, 127, 132, 136,147, 207, 228 f., 
240-57, 264 f.; bibhcal, 241, 249, 257; 
civilization of, 220; false, 123 f.; 
genuine, 87 f., 97, 123 ff., 139, 166, 
209 f., 221, 282; genuine, absence of, 
123-26, 220; life of, 85-97, 114, 116, 
271 f.; non-reciprocal, 170f.; philo- 
sophy of, 3, 16, 27, 33, 48 f., 51 n. 1. 
101, 169, 177, 184, 186, 189, 198, 
202 f., 209, 239, 257, 263, 271, 274, 
281 f.; philosophy of, application to 
education, 176-83; ethics, 198-207, 
history, 233-38, interpretation of the 
Bible, 239, 257, medicine, 186, 
mythology, 231-6, psychology and 
psychotherapy, 184-97, social philo- 
sophy, 208-21, symbolism, 225-36; 
technical, 123 f.. 165 

Dilthey, Wilhelm, 34, 40, 48 

direction, 32 f., 36, 64 f., 95 ff., 102-6, 111, 
116, 133 ff., 141, 180, 198 f., 204, 207, 
262, 265 f., 277; and the Jewish law, 
262 f., 265; awareness of, 94 ff., 198 

discursive thinking, 232 f. 

distance, 80-84, 104, 164, 173 f., 192, 

274; as first movement of human 
existence, 80-4; between I and Thou, 
274; removal of through dominance 
and submission, 274 

doctor and patient, relationship of, 120, 
186-9. See also psychotherapy. 

dogma, 41, 112, 113, 117, 136,215,247 f., 
261 f. 

Dostoievsky, Fyodor, 13, 35, 129, 173, 

double, inner, 68, 185 f. 

dualism, 13, 53, lllf., 118-23, 277 f.; 
between eros and agape. 111 ; between 
faith and action, 277; between God's 
wrath and His mercy, 277 f. ; between 
the 'is' and the 'ought,' 200 f., 203; 
between man's nature and his moral 
norms, 200 f., 203; between the 
religious and the ethical, 74, 131, 206, 
272, 274; Gnostic, 13, 53, 118, 142, 
277 f., 282; Iranian, 111, 118; of 
I-Thou and I-It, 165, 172 f.; of life m 
the spirit and life in the world, 32, 43 f., 
46, 64 f., 74 f., 96, 117 f., 251, 272, 
277 f. ; of modem age, 1 19-23 

duality, between beholder and what is 
beheld, 174 f.; of being and appear- 
ance, 85; of good and evil, 143; of 
world, 38 f., 73; within man, 28, 32, 
38 f., 68 f., 72, 90 f. See also inner 
division of man. 

dynamism, 31, 35, 52 f. 

Ebner, Ferdinand, 162 n., 164 f., 185, 
268, 272, 274 n. 1 

Eckhart, Meister, 27 

eclipse of God, 112, 128-32, 147 f., 266, 

economics, 62, 64, 119, 211 f. 

ecstasy, 28, 49 f., 72 f., 96, 151, 157 

education, 4, 77, 119 f., 146, 172, 176-83, 
214 f., 218, 266, 270; adult, 182 f., 
266; adult, German Jewish, 266; adult, 
in Israel, 182f.; for citizenship, 215, 
218; for community, 146, 215, 218; 
moral, 201 ; programme of Episcopal 
Church, 270, 270 n. 4; progressive, 
119; social, 215, 218; will to educate, 

ehyeh ahser ehyeh (YHVH'S 'I shaU be 
there'), 246, 250 

either-or, 4, 208, 214, 246 

Emmet, Dorothy, 162 n., 167 

empathy, 61, 88, 188 



emunah (trust in God), 96 f., 142, 148, 
249, 265 f., 275-8 

entering into relation, 80-4 

Episcopal Church, education programme 
of, 270, 270 n. 4 

Eternal Thou, 41, 53, 64, 70-6, 90, 140, 
147, 206, 225-9, 240, 246, 272, 281 f. 
See also God. 

ethical, the, 138, 147, 198, 206 f., 210, 
272 ff.; and the religious, 14, 131, 
206f., 272, 274 

ethics, 11, 75, 94, 103, 138, 147, 169, 172, 
198-207, 208, 210, 262, 272 f. 

evil, 11-15, 17 f., 20 f., 30-3, 39, 41, 44 f., 
47, 60, 62, 64 ff., 73 f., 76, 78 f., 86, 
89, 101-12, 117, 120 ff., 128-58, 226, 
232, 241, 253 f., 274, 278, 281 f.; as 
absence of direction, 103-6; as absence 
of relation, 103-6; as absence of 
restraint, llOf.; as decisionlessness, 
65, 105-10; as self-affirmation, 106- 
112; Biblical attitude toward, 253 f.; 
decision to, 106-12; dialectical attitude 
toward, 11, 14 f.. Ill; experienced in 
relation to oneself, 102; external, 152, 
156 f.; first stage of, 105-12; inner, 
102, 152, 156 f.; modem types of, 
13 f.; nature of, 101-12; objectivity of, 
201; point of attack against, 102; 
problem of, the, 11, 101, 278, 281 f.; 
radical, 108-12, 282; reality of, 11, 

13 f., 78, 109-12; redemption of, the, 

14 f., 18 f., 21, 30 f., 39, 53, 65, 73 f., 
76, 86, 101, 111 f., 121, 133-49, 226, 
278 f., 282; relation to good, 102 f., 
105, 111 ; second stage of, 105-12, 113, 
129f.; unredeemable, 11, 14, lllf., 
142 f., 282 

•evil impulse,' 20 ff., 33, 64 f., 74, 105 f., 

134 f., 139 f., 151, 156, 189, 200, 220 
exile of the Jews, 32, 158, 257, 262; of the 

Shekinah, 17, 71, 155, 158 
existential mistrust, 125-8, 147, 220 
existentialism, 3, 13, 27, 33, 35, 39, 161, 

269, 282; atheistic, 13, 282 
experiencing, 49, 57 ff., 74, 89 f. 
experiencing the other side, 87 ff., 97, 

177,179, 181, 186ff., 191, 204ff. 
exploitation, 47, 51 f., 106, 203 

faith, 31 f., 44, 96, 113 f., 130, 136, 138, 
142, 146, 206, 229, 239-57, 260 f., 
265 f., 274-82; as gift of God, 274; 
as trust see emunah^ trust in God; 

Biblical, 240-57; Christian, 274, 277- 
280; Christian, renewal of, 280; in a 
proposition, see pistis; of Hebrew 
Bible, 240-57, 275-8; subjectivizing 
of, 130f. 

fantasy, 86 ff., 134, 189,234 

Farmer, Herbert H., 228, 268, 270 

fate, 58, 62, 66, 71, 76, 97, 254. See also 

feeling, 28, 57, 59, 61-4, 88, 91 f. 

Feuerbach, Ludwig, 29, 48, 128, 164 

Fison, J. E., 228, 268, 270, 274 f. 

For the Sake of Heaven, 101 f., 138 f., 
149-58, 275 f. 

forms, 32, 40 ff., 63, 74 ff"., 84, 171 

Frank, Jacob, UOf. 

Frankfort, Henri, 232 f. 

freedom, 32 f., 38, 40, 52, 62, 65-8, 71, 
78 f., 92, 96, 103. 109 f., 112, 117 ff., 
121 f., 126, 133, 153, 157 f., 177 ff., 
185, 187, 198 f., 202, 210, 212, 219 f., 
228 f., 240 f., 248, 251 f., 254, 263 f., 
274; and communion, 178; divine, 
110, 117 f., 121, 153, 157 f., 251, 263 f.; 
from restraint, llOf.; group, 210, 
212; in education, 177 ff.; moral, 
198 f.; of creation, 52, 112; of the 
individual, 126, 177 ff., 210; of life 
impulses, 40; of man, 71, 78 f., 96, 109 f. 
112, 133, 153, 185; of society, 219 f.; 
personal, 32 f., 38, 62, 65-8, 92, 103, 
119, 121 f., 187, 202; to do good and 
evil, 241 

Freud, Sigmund, 13, 122 f., 125, 184 f., 

friendship, 196, 205 

Fromm, Erich, 84, 184f., 185 n. 1, 203, 

future, the, 32, 80, 114, 168, 236, 238, 
247 f., 252 

Gandhi, 144, 205 f. 
Gemeinschafty 45 f. 
German Jews, 8 f., 110, 205, 239 f., 259, 

266 f.; Nazi persecution of, 110, 205, 

266 f. 
gnosis, 21, 114, 116, 118,233 
Gnostic dualism, 13, 53, 118, 142 f., 

277 f., 282 
Gnosticism, 17, 114, 118, 121 f., 142, 

228, 278, 282 
God, 12, 17-20, 27 ff.,31ff.,38f., 41-4, 47, 

52 f., 57 f., 65, 70-6, 88, 90, 92-6, 102- 

115, 117 f., 121, 128-58, 161, 163, 189, 



206 f., 225-38, 240-57, 259-66, 271, 
273 n. 1, 274-82; absence of, 73, 254; 
address of, 90, 92, 104, 113, 132, 143, 
189, 229, 238, 242, 245, 247, 259, 
264 f., 282; anger of, 277 f.; as 
Absolute Person, 225 f.; as Eternal 
Thou, see Eternal Thou; becoming of, 
52 f.; being of, 52 f.; Biblical, 226; 
can be addressed but not expressed, 
70 f.; death of, 128-32, 135, 147 f.; 
eclipse of — see eclipse of God ; fear of, 
22, 78, 136 f., 151 f.; freedom of, 110, 
117 f., 121, 153, 157 f., 251, 263 f.; 
glory oi^see Shekinah ; God's 'harden- 
ing the heart,' 111 f., 278; God's need 
of man, 71, 269, 282; grace of— see 
grace; Greek view of, 12; guidance of, 
96; hiding of, the, 132, 148, 245 f., 
248, 250, 254, 275, 278, 281; hidden- 
ness of, 132, 245 f., 254, 278 ; imageless, 
the, 226, 242-6, 275; images of, 114, 
129 if., 135, 154, 242-6, 280; imitation 
of, 108, 116, 138, 248; immanence of, 
4, 20 ff., 27 ff., 33, 52 f., 71, 140, 
226 ff., 281; incomprehensibility of, 
137, 253; judgment of, 109, 112, 229, 
254; kingdom of — see kingdom of 
God; kingship of — see kingship of 
God; let into the world by man's 
hallowing the everyday, 282; love of, 
22, 33, 137 f., 143, 151 f., 226, 240, 
254, 272, 273 n. 1 ; manifestation of in 
history, 226, 243 ff., 257 n. 2; mani- 
festation of in nature, 226, 243 f., 
257 n. 2; meeting with— 5^^ meeting 
of God and man; mercy of, 254, 278. 
See also grace; name of, 70, 152, 246, 

248, 266; name of, sanctification of 
the, 266; nature of, 226; nearness of, 
132, 252-5, 281 f. ; nearness of, in man's 
suffering, 255; nearness of, loss of 
sense of, 132, 253; of the Covenant, 
252; of history, 243 ff., 257 n. 2; of 
Paul, 278; of the sufferers, 249, 252- 
257; of tradition, 21, 246; oneness of, 
112, 142, 157, 241 f., 245; personal 
manifestation of, 225 f. ; personal, 127 ; 
presence of, 89, 96, 132, 136, 245 f., 

249, 254 f., 281 f.; presence of, loss of 
sense of, 132, 254; realization of, 27, 
34 f., 38 f., 43, 47, 52 f. ; revelation of— 
je« revelation ; self-limitation of, 1 8, 20, 
151; silence of, 132, 281; source of, 
both good and evil, 109, 253; trans- 

cendance of, 4, 12, 33, 52 f., 71, 
130 f., 140, 226 f„ 233, 249; trust 
in, 128, 130, 142, 249, 254, 282; trust 
in, loss of, 128-32; ultimate oneness 
with the world, 112, 142, 282; union 
with, 72 f.; way of, 109, 138; wiU of, 
47, inf., 138, 233, 246, 262, 265; 
word oi—see Word, the; wrath of, 
277 f.; See also Absolute, the; god- 
head, the; YHVH. 

'God is dead,' 128-31, 135, 147 f. 

godhead, the, 27, 29, 53, 225, 244 

Goethe, Johann Wolfgang von, 7, 27 

Gog and Magog, 102, 149 f., 152 f., 156f. 

Gogarten, Friedrich, 162 n., 227 f., 
237 f., 238 n. 1, 268, 272 f., 275 

good, 11, 13, 30, 33, 47, 60, 65, 76, 102 f., 
105, 108 f.. Ill, 120 ff., 128 f., 135, 
141, 149-52, 154 f., 200, 206 f., 232, 
241, 278; set free from evil, 154f.; 
urge, 105, 135, 139; will, 200 

good and evil, choice between, 107 ff.; 
duality of, 143; God as source of, 
109, 253; relation between, 102 f., 105, 

Gordon, A. D., 259 

grace, 14, 44, 47, 59, 66, 70, 73, 78, 91, 
94, 112, 133, 146, 151, 153, 155, 
187, 251, 253, 270 n. 4, 272, 273 n. 1, 
277; trust in, 277 

Guardini, Romano, 227 f., 275 

guilt, 104, 106, 112, 145, 195 f. 

hallowing the everyday, 71, 73, 1 18, 135- 

144, 153 f., 158,282 
Hasidic legends, 6, 258, 261, 261 n. 1 
Hasidim, 7, 16, 31, 261 
Hasidism, 8 f., 16-23, 27, 31, 48, 53, 74, 

77,91,114, 134, 141, 146, 150-8, 189 f., 

258, 260 f., 261 n. 1, 265, 269, 274 n. 1 
Haskalah, 8f., 31 
hastening the end, 150, 153 
Hegel, Friedrich, 116 
Heidegger, Martin, 78, 104, 129 ff., 165, 

165 n. 3, 187 
Heim, Karl, 4, 162.n., 164, 168 n. 2, 227, 

268, 271 ff. 
Herberg, Will, 273, 273 n. 1 
Herzl, Theodore, 259 
Hess, Moses, 262 f. 
heteronomy of the will, 198 f. 
Heydom, Heinz- Joachim, 5 f., 218 f. 
Hinduism, 20, 27. See also Vedanta, the 



history, 42, 47, 62, 66 ff., 75 f., 80, 118, 
129 f., 132, 141, 144, 226, 231-8, 241, 
243 ff., 247 ff., 254, 256, 276; as 
dialogue, 237 f., 238 n. 1 ; as linear 
evolution, 237 f,, as meeting, 238, 
238 n. 1; Biblical, 236 ff., 243 ff., 
247 ff., 254; God of, 243 ff., 257 n. 2; 
I-It, 237, 237 n. 3, 238; I-Thou, 237 n. 
3, 238; inner, 237, 237 n. 3, 255 f.; 
Lord of, 244 ff., 257 n. 2; manifesta- 
tion of God in, 226, 243 ff., 247 ff., 
257 n. 2; meaning in, 233, 237 f.; 
meeting with God in, 233-8; mystery 
of, 256; of culture — see culture, 
history of; of religion, 114, 235 f.; 
outer, 237, 237 n. 3; philosophy of, 
40, 42, 76, 116 f., 234; revelation of 
God in, 226, 243 ff., 247 ff., 257 n. 2; 
subject-object, 237, 237 n. 3, 238; true, 

Hitler, llOff., 130, 219, 266 f. 

holiness, 139, 248, 253 

•holy insecurity,' 38, 114, 135 ff., 261 f. 
See also insecurity; security 

•holy people,' 117, 143, 250, 259 f., 265 f. 

Hosea, 248, 254 

Howe, Reuel, 268, 270 n. 4 

human existence, 78-87, 90, 92, 103, 112, 
145, 200, 226; authentic, 81, 83, 86, 
97, 101, 103, 139, 200, 207, 221; 
being and appearance as two different 
types of, 85; created meaning of, 87; 
twofold principle of, 80 f.; trust in, 
127 f.; trust, in destruction of, 127 f. 

human nature, 78-85, 122, 201, 211, 
271 ff., 278; Pelegian attitude toward, 
201 ; sinfuhiess of, 271 ff., 278 

humility, 22, 109, 157 f., 228 f. 

•I,' the, 28 f., 37, 49, 57, 62, 68, 70 f., 73, 
93, 96, 115, 130 f., 140, 164, 170, 173 f., 
185f., 201f., 237f.,269 

I and Thou, 28 f., 48, 21 1, 219, 229, 231 ; 
choice between, 228 f., 273 

land Thou (book), 49, 52, 57-76, 77, 83, 
92, 185f., 231, 245, 254, 269ff. 

I-It and I-Thou, alternation between, 
58, 62 f., 65, 73, 84, 94, 165 f., 206, 
282; dualism between, 165, 272 

Mt knowledge, 161-75 

I-It relation, 57, 76, 83 f., 94, 102 f., 115, 
130 f., 161-75, 184, 193, 203 f., 206, 
226, 230, 271 ff., 282; penetration of 
by I-Thou relation, 74, 103, 282 

I-Thou knowing, 161-75 

I-Thou phUosophy, 3, 11, 48, 73, 77, 
161-75, 178, 186, 229, 269, 271-5, 
278, 281 ; Christian interpretations of, 
271-5, 278. See also dialogue, philo- 
sophy of 

I-Thou relation, 48 f., 51 n. 1, 57-76, 
82 ff., 93 f., 114, 130, 136, 140, 143, 
148, 163-75, 178, 180, 184-89, 193, 
196, 200, 202-6, 208 f., 211, 217, 219, 
225-33, 237 n. 3, 238, 240, 245, 263, 
269 f., 270 n. 4, 271-5, 281 f.; in 
history, 237 f.; with nature, 57, 60, 
74, 169f. 

idealism, 14, 34, 39, 129, 163, 229, 238 

ideas, 59, 70, 115 

ideology, 125, 128, 220, theory of, 125 

//iw^ (Unity), 144 

images, divine, 114, 129 ff., 135, 154, 
225-31, 242, 280 

imagination, 105, 131, 134, 154, 189 

imagining, 82, 105, 188. See also 
experiencing the other side 

immanentism, 13, 129, 281 

immediacy, 43, 51, 57, 125, 136, 147, 
161, 177, 191, 219, 232, 241, 254, 
277 f.; between God and man, 43, 
136, 147, 241, 254, 277 f.; between 
man and man, 51, 125, 147, 191; 
characteristic of I-Thou relation, 57; 
in education, 1 7 7 ; in mythical thinking, 
232; of existence, 219 

impulse, 122 f., 134, 142, 200 

'inborn Thou,' the, 60, 68, 70, 165, 

inclusion, 88 f., 179, 181, 186 ff.. 196; 
concrete but one-sided, 196; mutual 
(in friendship), 196 

indecision, 105-9 

independence of man, 81 f., 88, 126, 212, 
228 f., 240 f., 274 

individualism, 119, 126, 146, 180, 201, 

individuation, 86 f., 188, 196 

infinity, 34, 79 

inner division of man, 30 f., 35, 68 f., 
90 f., 97, 108, 121, 185 f. See also 
duality within man; contradiction, 

insanity, 185 f. 

insecurity, 38, 84, 114, 127, 135 f., 195, 
208, 248, 262 f.; cosmic, 127; holy— 
see 'holy insecurity'; modem, 208; 
social. 127 



instincts, 122 f., 185, 208; and spirit, 

divorce between, 122 f., 208 
institutions, 46, 63 f., 97, 146 
integration of the personality, 188, 208, 

231. See also unification of the soul 
intellectuality, detached, 17, 21, 32, 35, 

intention, 18, 29, 65, 67, 88, 106, 121, 

140 f., 180, 261. See also kavanah 
interpersonal relations, 184 f., 192, 208 
intuition, 86, 163, 172, 174 f., 232, 

Iranian dualism. 111, 118 
Isaiah, 248, 252, 255 f. 
Israel, 6, 135, 143, 158, 244, 247-50, 252, 

255 f„ 259 f., 263-6, 275, 278 ff.; as 

'chosen people,' 250 ff., 259 f.; as the 

servant, 256 ; election of, 250 ff., 259 f. ; 

people of, 6, 143, 158, 244, 249 f., 252; 

redemption of, 279; state of, 182., 

217. See also Palestine 
It, 51-16 passim, 80, 115, 173, 188, 196, 

202, 202 n., 203, 206, 238, 269, 281; 

world of — see world of It. 

Jacobi, Friedrich Heinrich, 164 

James, William, 202 n. 1 

Jeremiah, 247, 254 f. 

Jesus, 44, 240, 251, 269, 275 ff., 279, 282 

Jew, the, 132, 142, 278 ff. 

Jewish faith, 240-57, 260 f., 277-80, 282 

Jewish law, 17, 258, 261-5, 277; myths— 
see myths, Jewish; mysticism, 27, 
32 — see also Hasidism, Kabbalah, 
the; nation and faith, splitting apart 
of, 265 f. ; people, 31 f., 265 ff. ; people, 
psychology of, 31 f.; renaissance, 31, 
259; thinkers, 258, 273 

Jewish- Arab co-operation, 8, 144 

Jews, the, 32, 110, 144, 205 f.; relation 
to the Arabs, 8, 144, 206 

Job, 12, 109, 132, 148, 253 ff., 281 ; Book 
of, 12, 281 ; of the gas chambers, 132, 
148; temptation of, 253 f. 

John, Saint, 270, 276 f. 

Judaism, 31 ff., 43 f., 77, 117, 142 f., 
185 n. 1, 241 f., 257-67, 269, 275-80, 
282; Biblical, 117, 239-57, 275-80; 
Orthodox, 265, 269; Pharisaic, 275 ff; 
philosophy of, 31-4; Reform, 265, 

Jude, Der, 8, 259 

Judges, the, 251 f., 256 

judgment, 109, 112, 229, 254, 278 

Jung, Carl G., 114, 122, 167, 187 f., 

194 f., 231 
justice, 138, 143 ff., 154, 229, 251, 254, 

256; as attribute of God, 143, 229, 


Kabbalah, the, 17-21, 27, 53, 71, 114 

Kafka, Franz, 132, 147 f., 278 

Kant, Immanuel, 34, 43, 48, 163 f., 

199 f. 
kavanah, 18, 21, 67, 140 f. See also 

Kerenyi, Karl, 6, 149 
Keyserling, Count Hermann von, 162 n., 

kibbuz, 216 
Kierkegaard, S0ren, 35, 48, 93, 97, 227, 

Kingdom of God, 38, 38 n. 1, 44, 76, 

101, 134, 144, 146, 158, 233, 237, 243, 

247, 255 f., 259 f., 277, 279 
Kings, the, 251 f. 
kingship of God, 143, 237, 248-52, 256, 

259 f., 277 
knowledge, 29, 34, 36 f., 41, 49, 60, 62 f., 

75, 80, 82, 94, 104, 114, 116, 161-75, 

178, 181, 183. 184; dialogical, 161-75, 

178; I-It, 161-75; orienting, 36; 

participation of knower in, 34, 104, 

161, 172 ff., 177, 187, 191, 197, 238; 

social conception of, 164 f., 178; 

subject-object, 161-75, 184; theory of, 

Korah, 109 f., 157f. 
Kropotkin, Prince Michael, 45 
kvuza, 216 f. 

Landauer, Gustav, 45 

Lauer, Fr. Caesarius, 271 f. 

law, 40 f., 45, 63, 117, 261-5. 277 

Lewisohn, Ludwig, 7, 258, 261 

lie, the, 86, 90, 107 f., 110 f., 119, 121 f., 

151 f. 
Uterature, 6, 149, 170, 173 
lived concrete, the, 96, 113, 115, 118, 

136 f., 161, 229 f. 
Lowith, Karl, 164, 203, 274 n. 1 
logical positivism, 163, 167, 169 
love, 22, 28 ff., 49 f., 59 f., 78, 88 f., 102, 
138 f., 143 f., 154, 185, 195, 203, 205 f., 
226, 248; Christian, 274; eros vs. 
agape, 273; general vs. particular, 
138; loving feeling vs. loving action, 
138; monological vs, dialogical, 88 f.; 


of God— see God, love of; of modern man, 4, 37, 118-32, 135, 208, 

neighbour, 138, 205; of others, 203; 

of self, 203; unable to reach the 

insane, 185 
Lucifer, 89, 105, 107. See also Satan 
Lurian Kabbalah, 17-21 
lust for overrunning reality, 121 f. 

Macmurray, John, 268 

magic, 113 f., 118, 120, 143, 150. 153 f., 

making present, 82, 86, 89, 97, 171, 188, 
191, 200 

man, as co-creator with God, 71, 269; 
autonomy of, 228, 240 f., 273 f.; 
becoming of, 80, 111, 125, 129, 164 f., 
172, 191, 193; essence of, 79, 83, 
85 f., 173; fallen nature of, 274; God's 
need of, 71 ; image of, 1 72, 262 ; nature 
of, 78-85, 122, 184 f., 201, 211; 
potentiality of, 79; problem of — see 
philosophical anthropology; relation 
to nature, 78 ff., 81; subjectivity of, 
128-31; wholeness of, 78 f., 92, 123, 
125, 141, 171, 173, 189, 262. See also 
philosophical anthropology, what is 

Marcel, Gabriel, 162 n., 164, 227, 268 

Marcion, 143, 278 

marriage, 64, 89, 139 f. 

Marx, Karl, 116, 125, 128,210 

Marxism, 45, 210 

meaning, 75, 92, 119, 129, 136, 138. 147, 
199, 229 f., 233, 237 f., 281 

means and ends, 58, 64. 67, 72, 119, 152, 
157, 185, 199f., 210, 260 

meeting, 42, 50, 53, 58 ff., 66, 72, 74, 84, 
94, 102 ff., 129, 161, 163-7, 170, 175, 
181, 187 f., 191, 194, 196, 199, 207 f., 
227 f., 231 f., 245, 282; of God and 
man, 42, 53, 70-6, 113, 115, 133, 
135 f., 139, 231, 233, 238, 249, 263 

memory, 234 ff.; believing, 234; his- 
torical, 236 

Messiah, 18, 80. 110, 141. 152 ff.. 156, 
252, 276, 279 

Messianism, 18 f., 32, 44, 141 f., 211, 
237, 240, 256, 275 f., 279 

metaphysics, 118, 129, 174, 226 

Michel, Ernst, 268 

miracle, 153, 234, 243 

mistrust, 123, 125-8, 147, 220; existential, 
125-8, 147, 220 

mizwoL 261, 264 

219, 268 ff. 

modem world, 13 f., 47, 51, 62, 64, 66, 
118-32, 146, 218; duaUsm of, 119-23; 
sickness of, 118-32 

moment, the, 113, 118, 136 

'moment Gods,' 12, 245 

monologue, 88 f., 117, 123 f., 194; dis- 
guised as dialogue, 123 f. 

morality, 94, 198 f., 204. See also ethics. 

Moses, 19, 109, 157 f., 246, 248, 250, 253, 
255, 282 

mutuality, 57, 61, 65, 85, 120, 123 

Mysterium Trememium, 71, 227 

mystery, 114, 125, 136 f., 194, 235 

mysticism, 16-23, 27-30, 35, 39, 50, 58, 
70, 72 f., 118, 163, 170, 225, 229, 231, 

myth, 17, 27 ff., 52, 105-8, 118, 167, 172, 
231-5, 245, 279; Bibhcal, 105, 107 f., 
232; gnosticLzing of, 233; Jewish, 17; 
of Adam and Eve, 105, 108; of Cain, 
105 ; of the Flood, 105, 107; of Lucifer, 
105, 107; Zoroastrian, 105-8, 111, 132 

'narrow ridge,' the, 3 ff., 9, 11, 47, 79, 
97, 111, 177, 184, 199, 203, 208, 214, 
226-9, 234, 263, 269, 281 

nationalism, 44 f., 119, 143, 260 

nature, 78-81, 107, 139, 153, 169 f., 226, 
233, 243 ff., 257 n. 2; and spirit, unity 
of, 243 f.; man's relation to, 36, 78-81, 
139, 169 f.; meeting with God in, 233; 
relevation of God in, 226, 243 f., 257 
n. 2 

Nazis, 110 ff., 130, 132, 205, 266 f. 

Nedoncelle, Maurice, 227 f. 

Neo-Platonism, 17 

neurosis, 68, 168, 196 

Niebuhr, H. Richard, 237 n. 3, 268 

Niebuhr, Reinhold, 268, 273 

Nietzsche, Friedrich, 34 f., 40, 53, 125, 
128f., 201f., 281 

non-action, 30, 67 

objectification, 76, 78, 83 f., 125, 165 f., 

169, 172 f., 190,265 
objectivity, 4, 60, 67 f., 81, 84 f., 177 f., 

181, 186, 199-205, 263 
Oldham, J. H., 268-71 
•once for all,' 37 f., 113, 115 f., 126 
ontological reality, 82 f., 104, 169, 187, 




opposites, 4, 11, 102 f., 281; irreconcil- 
able, 4, 11; unification of, 281 

orienting, 36 ff. 

original sin, 13, 112, 241 

'other,' the, 82, 86-9, 93, 103 f., 123 f., 
177, 180, 205, 220, 227 f. 

otherness, 81 f., 86-9, 93, 170, 177, 188, 
191, 227, 279, 281; acceptance of, 
81 f., 87 fir., 93 

Otto, Rudolph, 71, 277 

'ought,' the, 75, 200 f., 204 

•over-againstness', 83, 86, 129, 161, 170, 
225, 227, 250, 253, 282 

Palestine, 144, 216 f., 260, 263 

pantheism, 20, 39, 140 

particular, the, 161, 230, 232 f., 235, 

237 f. 
passion, 33, 65, 105 f., 122, 134 f., 139 f. 
Paul, 240, 275-8 
Paulinism, 275, 278 
peace, 4, 143 f., 211, 213, 252, 256 
person, the, 68, 88, 90, 94, 125, 164, 170, 

193, 226, 247; meeting individuals as 

persons, 88; real, 90, 92 f., 126 f., 146, 

182, 197; rebirth of, 280; unique, 125; 

whole, 125, 180, 182 ff., 189. See also 

wholeness, personal 
personal life, 63 f., 80, 83, 86, 93, 127, 

238, 249 
personal wholeness — see wholeness, per- 
personaUty, 60 f., 125, 225 f. ; integration 

of, 188, 208, 231, 240. See also 

unification of the soul 
Pharisees, 265 
Pfuetze, Paul E., 202, 217 f. 
philosophical anthropology, 77-85, 101, 

104, 107 f., 116, 122, 172 f., 198, 218 
philosophy, 41, 78, 91, 113, 115 f., 136, 

161, 163, 173 f., 209, 230 
pistis (faith in the truth of a proposition), 

142, 265, 275 f. 
Plato, 163, 167, 232 
Plotinus, 167 
political principle, the, 210-15, 217 f., 

poUtics, 4, 118 f., 126, 136, 201-15, 

219 ff. 
possibilities of the individual, 91, 105 ff., 

121, 125, 141, 180, 282 
potentiahty of man, 79, 81 f., 103, 105 ff., 

121, 125, 134, 164, 180, 192 f., 198 
power, 32 f., 40, 44 f., 64 f., 102, 105 f., 

Ill, 114, 116, 119 f., 141, 143, 146, 

150 f., 157, 212, 214; and direction, 

unity of, 32 f.; gigantic centraliza- 
tion of, 214; political, 213, 217; wiU to, 

45, 64, 75, 120, 163 
pragmatism, 13, 130, 202 
prayer, 22 f., 75 f., 130, 136, 151, 157 
Proust, Marcel, 173 
presentness, 57 f., 60, 62 ff., 67, 70, 80, 

113, 141, 154, 163, 167, 169 ff., 189, 

198, 245, 247 
primitive man, 12, 59, 83 
process, 53, 66 f. 
profit, 64, 75, 120 
propaganda, 82, 124, 180, 213, 219 
prophets, the Hebrew, 17, 43 f., 118, 

135, 143, 230, 247, 250 flf., 255, 269, 

Protestantism, 268 f., 273 
psychoanalysis, 13, 122 f., 184-97; 

Freudian, 122 f., 184, 189; Jungian, 

122, 187 f. 
psychology, 11 f., 77, 85, 104, 114, 119, 

125, 129, 147, 168, 172, 184-97, 219; 

behaviouristic, 184f.; Freudian, 122f. 

189; Jungian, 114, 122, 167, 187 f. 
psychotherapy, 114, 120, 122, 168, 184- 

197, 205; chent-centered, 191-4; 

Freudian, 122, 184, 189; Jungian, 122, 

187 f. 
pubUc opinion, 219 

rabbinism, 17, 31, 260 

Ragaz, Leonhard, 279 

Read, Sir Herbert, 178 ff. 

realization, 34-9, 43, 49, 65, 87, 196 

reciprocity, 60 f., 85, 140, 170 f., 203, 
228 f., 247, 250, 263, 273 

redemption, 22, 31 f., 53, 133-48, 158, 
241 f., 248, 252, 255, 259, 271, 278, 282 

'reflexion,' 72, 75, 89, 189, 195 

relation, entering into, 80-4; funda- 
mental reality of man's life, 101; 
linked with wholeness, 92; to one's 
self— jee self-relationship ; with nature, 
167; world of, 70, 73 

relationship between man and God, 31, 
35, 41 f., 48, 52, 70-6, 92-6, 113, 126- 
158, 161, 206, 225-82 /Jfljj/m 

relationship between man and man, 31, 
43, 46 f., 48, 85-97, 146 f., 167, 184 f., 
192, 195; authoritarian, 273 f.; 
obstacles to, 187; of doctor and 
patient, 186 f. 



relativity of values, 128 f., 178, 200 
religion, 41, 74 f., 113, 117-20, 129, 161, 

169, 206, 225, 244, 251, 274, 279; 

apocalyptic, 117f., 141, 154, 247, 

276; history of, 114, 235; prophetic, 

religious socialism, 33, 45 ff., 77, 146 
religious symbols, symbolism, 40 ff. 

114f., 118, 129 ff., 225-32, 234 
repressions, 104, 122, 208 
response, 62, 66 f., 74, 92 ff., 96, 113, 126, 

143, 146, 171, 182, 188 f., 193, 199, 

203, 219, 238, 263 
responsibiUty, 5, 21, 43, 45, 50, 59', 65, 

72, 90, 92 ff., 97, 119, 126, 139, 145, 

161, 178, 180, 182, 185, 187, 195 ff., 

199 f., 202, 204, 206, 212, 219, 254, 

revelation, 21, 74 f., 113 f., 141, 153, 

207, 226, 243-50, 253, 257 n. 2, 262- 

265, 279; as dialogical, 246 f. 
revolution, 214, 218 
Riezler, Kurt, 219 f. 
right and wrong, decision between, 103, 

righteousness, 144, 248, 251 
Rilke, Rainer Maria, 6, 7 n. 1 
Rogers, Carl R., 191-4 
Rosenstock-Huessey, Eugene, 162 n., 

Rosenzweig, Franz, 77, 162 n,, 185 n. 1, 

239 f., 264 f. 
Rylaarsdam, J. Coert, 257, 257 n. 2, 


sacrament, 118, 140 f., 230, 250 

saga 231 236 

salvation,' 66, 76, 112, 128, 133, 135, 

142, 277, 282 
sanctification of the profane, 139 f., 

142 f., 243 
Sartre, Jean-Paul, 14, 84, 1 12, 128 f., 199f., 

Satan, 31 f., 39, 94, 138 f., 253 
Sborowitz, Arie, 187 f., 194 
Scheler, Max, 122, 162 n., 164 
Schweitzer, Albert, 6, 279 
science, 4, 13, 36, 63, 65, 163, 168, 172 ff., 

181, 186, 193, 195, 202 
security, 37 f., 60, 76, 84, 113, 116, 123, 

135 ff., 247, 251, 253; shattering of, 

135 ff. 
seeing through the eyes of the other, 

87 ff., 168, 188, 191, 204 f. 

Seer, the, 101, 121, 150-8 

self,the, 72, 82, 87, 89 f., 92 f., 103, 107 f., 
110 f., 179, 188; awareness of, 108, 
198, 206; becoming of, 82 ff., 87, 97, 
111, 129, 164 f., 191, 193; choice 
between self- and God-centred exist- 
ence, 273 n. 1; crisis of, 68 f., 107-11, 
121 ; emergence of, 84; man's relation 
to his, 82 

self-affirmation, 107-12, 113, 130, 229, 

self-analysis, 104 

self-asserting instinct, 70 

self-confirmation, 108, 126 

self-contradiction, 68 f., 90, 185 

seff-deification, 108, 188 

self-knowledge, 107 f., 110 f. 

self-preoccupation, 89 f., 195 

self-realization, 188 f. 

self-relationship, 102, 104, 182, 187 

self-will, arbitrary, 62 f., 67, 126, 262 

selfishness, 89, 203 

Servant, the, 158, 251 f., 255 f., 260, 
275 f., 282; hiddenness of, the, 275 f. 

Shekinah, 17,20,53,71, 154-8 

shells of darkness, 20, 30 

'signs,' the, 90, 113, 167, 238, 245 

Simmel, Georg, 40, 48 f. 

sm, 32 f., 106, 109, HI f., 121, 151, 157, 
241, 272, 273 n. 1; original, 13, 112, 

Sinai, 250 ff., 256, 278 f.; Covenant, 
25C ff., 256 

Single One, the, 93 ff., 97, 125, 140, 146, 
193, 281 

'sinner,' the, 109, 112, 119, 151, 275, 

Smith, Ronald Gregor, viii, 66 

social philosophy, 172, 208, 221 

social principle, the, 210-15, 217 f., 220 

social sciences, 11 f., 172, 193 

social spontaneity, 212 f., 218 

socialism, 45 ff., 210 f., 216; centralistic, 
217; Marxist, 45 ff., 210, 217; religious 
33, 45 ff., 77, 146; spontaneous, 217; 
Utopian, 47, 146,211,215,217 

society, 208 f., 214, 218; co-operative, 
215; insect, 81; human, 81; human, 
exists in measure to which mutual con- 
firmation takes place, 81; mass 
industrial, 218 f. ; modern, 210; 'moral 
censorship' of , 1 04 ; social restructuring 
of, 208, 210-13, 217 f., 220 

sociology, 77, 125, 147 



solitude, 19, 68, 74, 76, 93 flf., 117, 127 f., 
157, 172 

speech, 74, 81, 87 

spirit, 62, 64 flf., 72 f., 75, 80, 92, 103, 
118 f., 122 f., 129, 142, 171, 208, 221, 
243 f., 251, 263; and impulses, divorce 
between, 122 f. ; and life, dualism of — 
see dualism of life in spirit and life in 
world; and nature, unity of, 243 f.; 
impersonal spirit of God in nature, 

spontaneity, 109, 130, 136, 138, 177, 199, 
228, 241, 251, 273 f.; social, 212, 218 

state, the, 43, 45 flf., 62, 64, 212, 214; 
centralization of, 46 f., 123, 210-18; 
decentralization of, 46, 210-18; 
organization of, 64; socialist power, 
the, 46 f. ; submission to, 273 ; totali- 
tarian, the, 13 

Steinbiichel, Theodor, 268 

style, 6 f., 78 

suflfering servant, the — see Servant, the 

subjectivity, 4 f., 52, 60, 68, 81, 84 f., 89, 
128-32, 165, 173, 177 f., 181, 199-205, 
238, 257 n. 2, 263, 271 

subject-object relationship, 57, 60, 83, 
143, 163, 166, 169 f., 172 f., 177, 184, 
202 238 

sublimation, 122 f., 128, 189, 208 

suflfering, 59, 70, 134, 151, 158, 253-7, 

Sullivan, Harry Stack, 185 

superman, the, 202, 281 

symbols, symbolism, 40 flf., 62, 114f., 
118, 129 flf., 166 flf., 172, 225-32 

Tao, the, 29 f., 71 

Taoism, 27, 39 

teacher, the, 176-83, 188, 205 

temptation, 65, 84, 91, 102, 105 f., 121 f., 
151 flf., 156, 253 f. 

Ten Commandments, 247 

teshuvah, 21, 33, 66, 73, 133 f. See abo 
turning, the 

theocracy, direct, 146, 251 f. 

theology, 9, 113 f., 116, 118, 237, 269; 
liberal, 269; orthodox, 269; Protest- 
ant, 269; relational, 270 

theophany, 41 f., 53, 75 f., 143, 278, 282 

therapy, 186f.; objective vs. inclusive, 
186 f. See also psychotherapy 

Thieme, Karl, 5, 269 

thinking, discursive, 232 f., existential, 
161; mythical, 232 f. 

•Thou,* the, and It, fusion of, 75; con- 
frontation with, 68 f.; essential, 209; 

inborn — see Unborn Thou'; primitive, 

209; world of, 73, 165 
Tillich, Paul, 268 f., 274 n. 1, 279 
time, 28, 53, 73, 80, 116, 141, 163, 243; 

anthropological, 116; cosmological, 

timeless, the, 28, 73, 141, 234, 236 
Tonnies, Ferdinand, 45 
togetherness, 41, 47, 51, 61, 122, 125, 

138, 227; disappearance of in modem 

world, 122, 125 
Torah, the, 16, 21, 265, 277; as instruc- 
tion, 277 
totalitarianism, 13, 126 f., 202, 212, 218 
tradition, 169, 177, 198, 204, 206, 234, 

236, 245 f., 261 f. 
tragedy, 112, 143, 149 f., 157 f., 251, 282; 

Aristotelian, 149 f.; of contradictions 

of existence, 149 f. 
Triib, Hans, 190, 194-7 
trust, 66, 86, 92, 96 f., 122 f., 128, 130, 

147, 192, 249, 265, 275, 282; in God, 

128, 130, 142; in God, loss of, 128-32; 

in existence, 97, 127f.; in existence, 

destruction of, 127 f. 
truth, 4, 38, 41, 47, 63, 77, 81 f., 86, 89, 

97, 105-8, 125, 129 f., 135, 142 f., 151. 

156, 161, 173, 181, 195, 206, 232, 236, 

261 flf., 279; falsification of, 4, 81, 86; 

neither 'objective' nor 'subjective,* 4; 

of relation, 63; poetic, 166f. 
tsimtsum, 18, 20, 151 
turning, the, 21, 33, 66, 69 f., 73 f., 76, 102, 

109, 112, 114, 133 flf., 141, 151, 153 flf., 

248, 252 f., 281 

unconditioned, the, 32 f., 41, 92 
imification of the soul, of the self, 91, 

106, 108, See also integration of 

unique, the, 34-7, 49, 51, 58, 63, 67, 86, 

92, 113, 125, 168, 188, 232, 235 f., 237 
uniqueness, 92, 95 f., 103, 113, 125, 134, 

170 f., 173, 182, 188, 198, 200, 229 f., 

233, 235, 238, 240 
unity, 28-32, 35, 38 f., 49 f., 61, 96, 170, 

190; of being, 30-3, 35, 37, 72, 80, 

92, 94, 225, 229 
universal, the, 35, 115, 161, 203, 206, 

229-32, 235, 265 
universals, Platonic, 167, 207 
unmasking ('seeing through*), 125, 128 



Urban, Wilbur Marshall, 167 

urges, the good and evil, 105 f., 109, 

139. See also 'evil impulse' 
using, 36, 51, 57, 63 f., 68, 74 f., 80, 82, 

90, 113 f., 119f., 171,207 

values, 11 f., 70, 97, 108, 128 f., 172, 174 
177, 181, 198-201, 203 f., 208 ff., 281 
absolute, 129; absoluteness of, 128 f. 
basic, 208; of the teacher, 177 
relativity of, 128 f. See also cultural 

Vedenta, the, 20, 38 

vitalism, 13, 53, 119,281 

Vivas, Eliseo, 200 f. 

vocation, 103 f., 188 

way, the, 29 f., 71, 109, 134 f., 237, 272. 
We, the, 208 f., 227; essential, 209; 

primitive, 209 
Weil, Simone, 142 
Weizmann, Chaim, 259 
Weizsacker, Viktor von, 185 ff. 
What is man?, 77-84, 101, 127, 172, 184 
Whitehead, Alfred North, 226 f. 
whole being, 57, 59, 62, 67, 70, 83. 103, 

125, 134, 174 f. 
wholeness, personal, 30-3, 35, 57, 59, 

67, 70, 72, 96, 90-7, 106 ff., 123, 125 ff., 

141, 146, 198, 208; absence of, 106 ff.; 

absence of complimentary to absence 

of direction and absence of relation, 

*whoUy Other,* the, 71, 228 
•wicked man,* the, 109, 112 
will, 44, 47, 62, 70, 135, 137 f., 200, 211 ; 

arbitrary self-will, 62 f., 67, 126, 262; 

of God — see God, will of; to educate, 

177; to power, 45, 64, 120, 163; to 

profit, 64 

Wolf, Ernest M., 239, 266 

wonder, 116, 234 f., 238, 244 

Word, the, 74, 110, 148, 166 f., 170, 185, 
246 f., 262, 272, 277 

work, 119, 139 

world, 36, 60, 72 f., 80. 84, 118, 197, 
226; becoming of, 80, 84; life in the, 
72, 117; of the child, 60; personal 
meeting with, 196; relation of man 
and, 72, 80, 84, 92, 281; relation to 
what is not world, 73 f., 281 ; selection 
of the effective world by the teacher, 
178, 181 ; ultimate oneness with God, 
112, 142, 282; unredeemedness of, 
278 f. ; world, man, and God, relation 
of, 281 

world of It, the, 62-9, 72 ff., 76, 84, 165, 
185, 245; augmentation of, 62; 
permeation by I-Thou relation, 74, 
103, 282 

World War, First, 45, 101; Second, 110, 

Yehudi, the, 101 f., 138 f., 150-8, 275 f., 

YHVH, 244, 246-57, 257 n. 2; as God of 

nature and history, 257 n. 2; as 

original Godhead, 244; distinguished 

from Elohim, 244 
yihudy 17, 143. See also evil, redemption 

Yima, 107 f. 

Zaddik, 19, 150, 152, 190 

Zevi, Sabbatai, 110 

Zionism, 8, 16, 77, 120, 144, 258 ff., 

265, 269 
Zwischenmenschliche, das, 85, 209. See 

also between, the sphere of 

70 71 72 73 12 11 10 9 8 7 6 


Revised June, igSy 

b3JipeR f uoRcbBooks 

American Studies: General 

THOMAS c. COCHRAN: The Inner Revolution. Essays on 
the Social Sciences in History TB/1140 

HENRY STEELE COMMAGER, Ed.: The Struggle for Racial 
Equality TB/1300 

EDWARD s. corwin: American Constitutional History. 
Essays edited by Alpheus T. Mason and Gerald Gar- 
vey ^ TB/1136 

carl n. degler, Ed.: Pivotal Interpretations of American 
History TB/1240, TB/1241 

a. HUNTER dupree: Scicncc in the Federal Government: 
A History of Policies and Activities to 1940 TB/573 

A. s. eisenstadt, Ed.: The Craft of American History: 
Recent Essays in American Historical Writing 

Vol. I TB/1255; Vol. II TB/1256 

CHARLOTTE P. GiLMAN: Women and Economics: A Study 
of the Economic Relation between Men and Women 
as a Factor in Social Evolution, t Ed. with an Introduc- 
tion by Carl N. Degler TB/3073 

OSCAR handlin, Ed.: This Was America: As Recorded 
by European Travelers in the Eighteenth, Nineteenth 
and Twentieth Centuries. Illus. TB/1119 

MARCUS LEE HANSEN: The Atlantic Migration: 1607-1860. 
Edited by Arthur M. Schlesinger TB/1052 

MARCUS LEE HANSEN: The Immigrant in American His- 
tory. TB/1120 

JOHN higham, Ed.: The Reconstruction of American 
History ^ tb/io68 

ROBERT H. JACKSON: The Supreme Court in the American 
System of Government tb/iio6 

JOHN F. KENNEDY: A Nation of Inimigrants. '^ Illus. 


LEONARD w. LEVY, Ed.: American Constitutional Law: 
Historical Essays TB/1285 

LEONARD w. LEVY, Ed.: Judicial Review and the Supreme 
Court TB/1296 

LEONARD w. levy: The Law of the Commonwealth and 
Chief Justice Shaw TB/i3og 

RALPH BARTON PERRY: Puritanism and Democracy 


ARNOLD ROSE: The Negro in America TB/3048 

MAURICE R. STEIN: The EcHpse of Community. An In- 
terpretation of American Studies TB/1128 

w. LLOYD WARNER and Associates: Democracy in Jones- 
ville: A Study in Quality and Inequality H TB/1129 

w. LLOYD WARNER: Social Class in America: The Evalua- 
tion of Status TB/1013 

American Studies: Colonial 

BERNARD BAiLYN, Ed.: Apologia of Robert Keayne: Self- 
Portrait of a Puritan Merchant tb/izoi 

BERNARD BAILYN: The New England Merchants in the 
Seventeenth Century TB/1149 

JOSEPH CHARLES: The Origins of the American Party 
System TB/1049 

CHARLES GIBSON: Spain in America + TB/3077 

LAWRENCE HENRY GiPSON: The Coming of the Revolu- 
tion: 1763-1773. t Illus. TB/3007 

LEONARD w. levy: Freedom of Speech and Press in Early 
American History: Legacy of Suppression TB/1109 

PERRY MILLER: Errand Into the Wilderness TB/1139 

PERRY miller & T. H. JOHNSON, Eds.: The Puritans: A 
Sourcebook of Their Writings 

Vol. I TB/1093; Vol. II TB/1094 

EDMUND s. morgan, Ed.: The Diary of Michael Wiggles- 
worth, 1633-1657: The Conscience of a Puritan 


EDMUND s. morgan: The Puritan Family: Religion and 
Domestic Relations in Seventeenth-Century New 
England TB/1227 

RICHARD B. MORRIS: Government and Labor in Early 
America TB/1244 

KENNETH B. MURDOCK: Literature and Theology in 
Colonial New England TB/99 

WALLACE notestein: The English People on the Eve of 
Colonization: 1603-1630. t Illus. TB/3006 

JOHN p. ROCHE: Origins of American Political Thought: 
Selected Readings TB/1301 

JOHN smith: Captain John Smith's America: Selections 
from His Writings. Ed. with Intro, by John Lankford 


LOUIS B. WRIGHT: The Cultural Life of the American 
Colonies: 1607-1763. t Illus. TB/3005 

American Studies: From the Revolution to 1860 

JOHN R. ALDEN: The American Revolution: 1773-1783. t 
Illus. TB/3011 

MAX BELOFF, Ed.: The Debate on the American Revolu- 
tion, 1761-1783 : A Sourcebook ^ TB/1223 

RAY A. billington: The Far Western Frontier: 1830- 
1860. t Illus. TB/3012 

EDMUND BURKE: On the American Revolution: Selected 
Speeches and Letters, t Edited by Elliott Robert 
Barkan TB/3068 

WHITNEY R. CROSS: The Bumed-Over District: The Social 
and Intellectual History of Enthusiastic Religion in 
Western New York, 1800-1850 ^ TB/1242 

GEORGE dangerfield: The Awakening of American Na- 
tionalism: 1813-1828. t Illus. TB/3061 

CLEMENT EATON: The Freedom-of-Thought Struggle in 
the Old South. Revised and Enlarged. Illus. TB/1150 

CLEMENT EATON: The Growth of Southern Civilization: 
1790-1860. t Illus. TB/3040 

t The New American Nation Series, edited by Henry Steele Commager and Richard B. Morris. 

+ American Perspectives series, edited by Bernard Wishy and William E. Leuchtenburg. 

* The Rise of Modern Europe series, edited by William L. Langer. 

** History of Europe series, edited by J. H. Plumb. 

H Researches in the Social, Cultural and Behavioral Sciences, edited by Benjamin Nelson. 

§ The Library of Religion and Culture, edited by Benjamin Nelson. 

2 Harper Modern Science Series, edited by James R. Newman. 

° Not for sale in Canada. 

^ Not for sale in the U. K. 

LOUIS filler: The Crusade Against Slavery: 1830-1860. + 
Illus. TB/3029 

DIXON RYAN FOX I The Decline of Aristocracy in the 
Politics of New York: 1801-1840. t Edited by Robert 
V. Remini TB/3064 

WILLIAM w. FREEHLiNG, Ed.: The Nullification Era: A 
Documentary Record t TB/3079 

FELIX gilbert: The Beginnings of American Foreign 
Policy: To the Farewell Address tb/i2oo 

FRANCIS grierson: The Valley of Shadows: The Coming 
of the Civil War in Lincoln's Midwest: A Contem- 
porary Account TB/1246 

FRANCIS J. grund: Aristocracy in America: Social Class 
in the Formative Years of the New Nation tb/iooi 

ALEXANDER HAMILTON: The Reports of Alexander Ham- 
ilton, t Edited by Jacob E. Cooke TB/3060 

THOMAS JEFFERSON: Notes on the State of Virginia, t 
Edited by Thomas P. Abernethy TB/3052 

JAMES MADISON: The Forging of American Federalism: 
Selected Writings of James Madison. Edited by Saul 
K. Padover TB/1226 

BERNARD MAYO: Myths and Men: Patrick Henry, George 
Washington, Thomas Jefferson tb/iio8 

JOHN c. miller: Alexander Hamilton and the Growth of 
the New Nation TB/3057 

RICHARD B. MORRIS, Ed. : The Era of the American Revo- 
lution TB/1180 

R. B. NYE: The Cultural Life of the New Nation: 1776- 
1801. t Illus. TB/3026 

FRANCIS s. philbrick: The Rise of the West, 1754-1830. + 
Illus. TB/3067 

TIMOTHY L. smith: Revivalism and Social Reform: 
American Protestantism on the Eve of the Civil War 


FRANK THiSTLETHWAiTE : America and the Atlantic Com- 
munity: Anglo-American Aspects, ijgo-iS^o TB/1107 

ALBION w. tourg^e: A Fool's Errand, t Ed. by George 
Fredrickson TB/3074 

A. F. TYLER: Freedom's Ferment: Phases of American 
Social History from the Revolution to the Outbreak 
of the Civil War. 31 i//ms. TB/1074 

GLYNDON G. VAN DEUSEN: The Jacksonian Era: 1828- 
1848. t Illus. TB/3028 

LOUIS B. WRIGHT: Culture on the Moving Frontier 


American Studies: The Civil War to 1900 

w. R. BROCK: An American Crisis: Congress and Recon- 
struction, 1865-67 ° ^ TB/1283 

prise: A Social History of Industrial America TB/1054 

w. A. DUNNING: Essays on the Civil War and Reconstruc- 
tion. Introduction by David Donald tb/ii8i 

w. A. DimNiNG: Reconstruction, Political and Economic: 
1865-1877 TB/1073 

HAROLD u. FAULKNER: PoUtics, Reform and Expansion: 
1890-1900. + Illus. TB/3020 

HELEN HUNT JACKSON: A Century of Dishonor: The Early 
Crusade for Indian Reform, t Edited by Andrew F. 
Rolle TB/3063 

ALBERT D. KiRWAN: Revolt of the Rednecks: Mississippi 
Politics, i8j6-igz5 TB/1199 

ROBERT GREEN MCCLOSKEY: American Conservatism in 
the Age of Enterprise: 1865-1910 TB/1137 

ARTHUR MANN: Yankee Reformers in the Urban Age: 
Social Reform in Boston, 1880-igoo TB/1247 

WHiTELAW REiD: After the War: A Tour of the Southern 
States, 1865-1866. t Edited by C. Vann Woodward 


CHARLES H. SHiNN: Mining Camps: A Study in American 
Frontier Government, t Edited by Rodman W. Paul 


VERNON LANE WHARTON: The NegTO in Mississippi: 
1865-1890 TB/1178 

American Studies: 1900 to the Present 

RAY STANNARD BAKER: Following the Coior Line: Ameri- 
can Negro Citizenship in Progressive Era. t Illus. 
Edited by Dewey W. Grantham, Jr. TB/3053 

RANDOLPH s. BOURNE: War and the Intellectuals: Col- 
lected Essays, igi^-igig. t Edited by Carl Resek 


A. RUSSELL BUCHANAN: The United States and World War 
IL t Illus. Vol. I TB/3044; Vol. II TB/3045 

ABRAHAM CAHAN: The Rise of David Levinsky: a docu- 
mentary novel of social mobility in early twentieth 
century America. Intro, by John Higham TB/1028 

THOMAS c. COCHRAN: The American Business System: 
A Historical Perspective, igoo-igss tb/io8o 

FOSTER RHEA DULLES: America's Rise to World Power: 
1898-1954. t Illus. TB/3021 

JOHN D. HICKS : Republican Ascendancy: 1921-1933. + 
Illus. TB/3041 

SIDNEY HOOK: Reason, Social Myths, and Democracy 


ROBERT HUNTER: Poverty: Social Conscience in the Pro- 
gressive Era. t Edited by Peter d'A. Jones TB/3065 


to Isolation: The World Crisis of ig}j-ig40 and 
American Foreign Policy 

Vol. I TB/3054; Vol. II TB/3055 

WILLIAM E. LEUCHTENBURG: Franklin D. Roosevelt and 
the New Deal: 1932-1940. t Illus. TB/3025 

ARTHUR s. LINK: Woodrow Wilson and the Progressive 
Era: 1910-1917. + Illus. TB/3023 

GEORGE E. MOWRY: The Era of Theodore Roosevelt and 
the Birth of Modern America: 1900-1912. t Illus. 


RUSSEL B. NYE: Midwestem Progressive Politics: A His- 
torical Study of Its Origins and Development, 1870- 
igs8 TB/1202 

WILLIAM PRESTON, JR.: Aliens and Dissenters: Federal 
Suppression of Radicals, igoj-ig}} TB/1287 

WALTER RAUSCHENBUSCH: Christianity and the Social 
Crisis. X Edited by Robert D. Cross TB/3059 

JACOB Riis: The Making of an American, t Edited by 
Roy Lubove TB/3070 

PHILIP SELZNiCK: TVA and the Grass Roots: A Study in 
the Sociology of Formal Organization TB/1230 

IDA M. TARBELL: The History of the Standard Oil Com- 
pany: Briefer Version, t Edited by David M. Chalmers 


GEORGE B. TiNDALL, Ed.: A Populist Reader X TB/3069 

TWELVE SOUTHERNERS: I'll Take My Stand: The South 
and the Agrarian Tradition. Intro, by Louis D. Rubin, 
Jr., Biographical Essays by Virginia Rock TB/1072 

WALTER E. WEYL: The New Democracy: An Essay on Cer- 
tain Political Tendencies in the United States. X Edited 
by Charles B. Forcey TB/3042 


JACQUES barzun: Race: A Study in Superstition. Re- 
vised Edition TB/1172 

JOSEPH B. casagrande, Ed.: In the Company of Man: 
Twenty Portraits of Anthropological Informants. 
Illus. TB/3047 

w. e. le gros CLARK: The Antecedents of Man: Intro, 
to Evolution of the Primates. ° ^ Illus. TB/559 

CORA DU BOis: The People of Alor. New Preface by the 
author. Illus. Vol. I TB/1042; Vol. II TB/1043 

RAYMOND FIRTH, Ed.: Man and Culture: An Evaluation 
of the Work of Bronislaw Malinowski \i ° ^ TB/1133 

DAVID landy: Tropical Childhood: Cultural Transmis- 
sion and Learning in a Puerto Rican Village H 


L. s. B. LEAKEY: Adam's Ancestors: The Evolution of 
Man and His Culture. ^ Illus. TB/1019 

ROBERT H. LOWiE: Primitive Society. Introduction by 
Fred Eggan TB/1056 

EDWARD BURNETT TYLOR: The Origins of Culture. Part I 
of "Primitive Culture." § Intro, by Paul Radin TB/33 

EDWARD BURNETT TYLOR: Religion in Primitive Culture. 
Part II of "Primitive Culture." § Intro, by Paul Radin 


w. LLOYD WARNER: A Black Civilization: A Study of an 
Australian Tribe. H Illus. TB/3056 

Art and Art History 

WALTER lowrie: Aft in the Early Church. Revised Edi- 
tion. 452 illus. TB/124 

emile MALE: The Gothic Image: Religious Art in France 
of the Thirteenth Century. § ^ igo illus. TB/44 

MILLARD MEiss: Painting in Florence and Siena after the 
Black Death: The Arts, Religion and Society in the 
Mid-Fourteenth Century. i6g illus. TB/1148 

ERICH NEUMANN: The Archetypal World of Henry 
Moore. ^ 107 illus. TB/2020 

DORA & ERWiN PANOFSKY : Pandora's Box: The Changing 
Aspects of a Mythical Symbol. Revised Edition. Illus. 


ERWIN PANOFSKY: Studies in Iconology: Humanistic 
Themes in the Art of the Renaissance. ^ 180 illustra- 
tions TB/1077 

ALEXANDRE piANKOFF: The Shrines of Tut-Ankh-Amon. 
Edited by N. Rambova. 117 illus. TB/2011 

JEAN SEZNEC: The Survival of the Pagan Gods: The 
Mythological Tradition and Its Place in Renaissance 
Humanism and Art. 108 illustrations TB/2004 

OTTO VON simson: The Gothic Cathedral: Origins of 
Gothic Architecture and the Medieval Concept of 
Order. ^ 58 illus. TB/2018 

HEiNRiCH zimmer: Myth and Symbols in Indian Art and 
Civilization, yo illustrations TB/2005 

Business, Economics & Economic History 

REiNHARD BENDix: Work and Authority in Industry: 
Ideologies of Management in the Course of Indus- 
trialization TB/3035 

Age: And Its Potential for Management TB/1179 

THOMAS c. COCHRAN: The American Business System: A 
Historical Perspective, igoo-%gs5 tb/io8o 

THOMAS c. COCHRAN: The Inner Revolution: Essays on 
the Social Sciences in History ^ TB/1140 

prise: A Social History of Industrial America TB/1054 


nomics, and Welfare: Planning and Politico-Economic 
Systems Resolved into Basic Social Processes 


PETER F. drucker: The New Society: The Anatomy of 
Industrial Order ^ TB/1082 

EDITORS OF FORTUNE: America in the Sixties: The Econ- 
omy and the Society TB/1015 

ROBERT L. HEiLBRONER: The Great Ascent: The Struggle 
for Economic Development in Our Time TB/3030 

ROBERT L. HEILBRONER: The Limits of American Capital- 
ism TB/1305 

FRANK H. KNIGHT: The Economic Organization TB/1214 

FRANK H. knight: Risk, Uncertainty and Profit TB/1215 

ABBA p. lerner: Everybody's Business: Current Assump- 
tions in Economics and Public Policy TB/3051 

ROBERT GREEN MCCLOSKEY: American Conservatism in 
the Age of Enterprise, 1865-1910 ^ TB/1137 

PAUL MANTOUX: The Industrial Revolution in the 
Eighteenth Century: The Beginnings of the Modern 
Factory System in England ° ^ TB/1079 

WILLIAM MILLER, Ed.: Men in Business: Essays on the 
Historical Role of the Entrepreneur tb/io8i 

RICHARD B. MORRIS: Government and Labor in Early 
America ^ TB/1244 

HERBERT SIMON: The Shape of Automation: For Men and 
Management tb/iz^^ 

PERRiN stryker: The Character of the Executive: Eleven 
Studies in Managerial Qualities TB/1041 

PIERRE URi: Partnership for Progress: A Program for 
Transatlantic Action TB/3036 


JACQUES barzun: The House of Intellect ^ TB/1051 

RICHARD M. JONES, Ed.: Contemporary Educational Psy- 
chology: Selected Readings TB/1292 
CLARK KERR: The Uses of the University TB/1264 
JOHN u. nef: Cultural Foundations of Industrial Civi- 
lization ^ TB/1024 
NATHAN M. PusEY: The Age of the Scholar: Observations 
on Education in a Troubled Decade TB/1157 
PAUL valery: The Outlook for Intelligence ^ TB/2016 

Historiography & Philosophy of H istory 

JACOB burckhardt: On History and Historians. '=' Intro- 
duction by H. R. Trevor-Roper tb/i2i6 

wiLHELM dilthey: Pattern and Meaning in History: 
Thoughts on History and Society. ° ^ Edited with an 
Introduction by H. P. Rickman TB/1075 

J. h. hexter: Reappraisals in History: New Views on 
History & Society in Early Modern Europe ^ tb/iioo 

H. STUART hughes: History as Art and as Science: Twin 
Vistas on the Past TB/1207 

RAYMOND KLiBANSKY & H. J. PATON, Eds. : Philosophy and 
History: The Ernst Cassirer Festschrift. Illus. 


ARNALDO momigliano: Studies in Historiography « ^ 


GEORGE H. nadel, Ed. : Studies in the Philosophy of His- 
tory: Selected Essays from History and Theory 


JOSE ORTEGA Y GASSET: The Modem Theme. Introduc- 
tion by Jose Ferrater Mora TB/1038 

KARL R. popper: The Open Society and Its Enemies ^ 
Vol. I: The Spell of Plato tb/iioi 

Vol. II: The High Tide of Prophecy: Hegel, Marx and 
the Aftermath tb/iio2 

KARL R. popper: The Poverty of Historicism ° ^ TB/1126 

G. J. renier: History: Its Purpose and Method ^ TB/1209 

w. H. WALSH: Philosophy of History: An Introduction ^ 


History: General 

L. CARRiNGTON GOODRICH: A Short History of the Chi- 
nese People. ^ Illus. TB/3015 

nism: Selected Documents TB/3031 

BERNARD LEWIS: The Arabs in History ^ TB/1029 

BERNARD LEWIS: The Middle East and the West ° ^ 


History: Ancient 

A. ANDREWES: The Greek Tyrants ^ TB/1103 

ADOLF ERMAN, Ed. The Ancicnt Egyptians: A Source- 
book of Their Writings. New material and Introduc- 
tion by William Kelly Simpson TB/1233 
MICHAEL GRANT: Ancient History ° ^ TB/1190 
SAMUEL NOAH KRAMER: Sumerian Mythology TB/1055 
NAPHTALi LEWIS & MEYER REiNHOLD, Eds. : Roman Civili- 
zation. Sourcebook I: The Republic TB/1231 
zation. Sourcebook II: The Empire TB/1232 

History: Medieval 

P. boissonnade: Life and Work in Medieval Europe: The 
Evolution of the Medieval Economy, the 5th to the 
15th Century. ° ^ Preface by Lynn White, Jr. TB/1141 
HELEN cam: England before Elizabeth ^ TB/1026 

NORMAN cohn: The Pursuit of the Millennium: Revolu- 
tionary Messianism in Medieval and Reformation 
Europe ^ TB/1037 

G. G. coulton: Medieval Village, Manor, and Monastery 


CHRISTOPHER DAWSON, Ed.: Mission to Asia: Narratives 
and Letters of the Franciscan Missionaries in Mon- 
golia and China in the 13th and 14 Centuries ^ 


HEiNRiCH FicHTENAU: The Cafolingian Empire: The Age 
of Charlemagne ^ TB/1142 

GALBERT OF BRUGES: The Murdcf of Charles the Good. 
Trans, with Intro, by James Bruce Ross TB/1311 

F. L. GANSHOF: Feudalism ^ TB/1058 
DENO GEANAKOPLOS: Byzantinc East and Latin West: 

Two Worlds of Christendom in the Middle Ages and 
Renaissance TB/1265 

EDWARD GIBBON: The Triumph of Christendom in the 
Roman Empire (Chaps. XV-XX of "Decline and Fall," 
J. B. Bury edition). § ^ Illus. TB/46 

w. o. HASSALL, Ed.: Medieval England: As Viewed by 
Contemporaries ^ TB/1205 

DENYS HAY: Europe: The Emergence of an Idea TB/1275 
DENYS hay: The Medieval Centuries ° ^ TB/1192 

J. M. hussey: The Byzantine World ^ TB/1057 

ROBERT latouche: The Birth of Western Economy: Eco- 
nomic Aspects of the Dark Ages. ° '^ Intro, by Philip 
Grierson TB/1290 

FERDINAND LOT: The End of the Ancient World and the 
Beginnings of the Middle Ages. Introduction by Glan- 
ville Downey TB/1044 

MARSiLius OF PADUA: The Defender of the Peace. Trans, 
with Intro, by Alan Gewirth TB/1310 

G. mollat: The Popes at Avignon: 1305-1378 ^ TB/308 
CHARLES petit-dutaillis: The Feudal Monarchy in 

France and England: From the Tenth to the Thir- 
teenth Century ° ^ TB/1165 

HENRI pirenne: Early Democracies in the Low Coun- 
tries: Urban Society and Political Conflict in the 
Middle Ages and the Renaissance. Introduction by 
John H. Mundy tb/iiio 

STEVEN RUNCiMAN: A History of the Crusades. ^ 

Volume I: The First Crusade and the Foundation of 
the Kingdom of Jerusalem. Illus. TB/1143 

Volume II: The Kingdom of Jerusalem and the 
Prankish East, 1100-1187. Illus. TB/1243 

Volume III: The Kingdom of Acre and the Later 
Crusades TB/1298 

FERDINAND SCHEVILL: Siena: The History of a Medieval 
Commune. Intro, by William M. Bowsky TB/1164 

suLPicius SEVERUS ct al.: The Western Fathers: Being 
the Lives of Martin of Tours, Ambrose, Augustine of 
Hippo, Honoratus of Aries and Germanus of Aux- 
erre. ^ Edited and trans, by F. O. Hoare TB/309 

HENRY osBORN TAYLOR: The Classical Heritage of the 
Middle Ages. Foreword and Biblio. by Kenneth M. 
Setton TB/1117 

F. VAN der meer: Augustine The Bishop: Church and 
Society at the Dawn of the Middle Ages ^ TB/304 

J. M. wallace-hadrill: The Barbarian West: The Early 
Middle Ages, A.D. 400-1000 ^ tb/io6i 

History: Renaissance & Reformatio n 

JACOB burckhardt: The Civilization of the Renaissance 
in Italy. ^ Intro, by Benjamin Nelson & Charles 
Trinkaus. Illus. Vol. I TB/40; Vol. II TB/41 

JOHN CALVIN & jACOPO SADOLETO: A Reformation Debate. 
Edited by John C. Olin TB/1239 

ERNST cassirer: The Individual and the Cosmos in 
Renaissance Philosophy. ^ Translated with an Intro- 
duction by Mario Domandi TB/1097 

FEDERico chabod: Machiavelli and the Renaissance ^ 


EDWARD P. cheyney: The Dawn of a New Era, 1250- 
1453. * Illus. TB/3002 

G. constant: The Reformation in England: The English 
Schism, Henry VIII, 1509-1^47 ^ TB/314 

R. TREVOR davies: The Golden Century of Spain, 1501- 
1621 " ^ TB/1194 

G. R. ELTON: Reformation Europe, 1517-1559 ** o a 


DESiDERius ERASMUS: Christian Humanism and the 
Reformation: Selected Writings. Edited and trans- 
lated by John C. Olin tb/ii66 

WALLACE K. FERGUSON et al. : Facets of the Renaissance 


WALLACE K. FERGUSON et al.: The Renaissance: Six Es- 
says. Illus. TB/1084 

JOHN NEVILLE FIGGIS: The Divine Right of Kings. Intro- 
duction by G. R. Elton TB/1191 

JOHN NEVILLE FIGGIS: Political Thought from Gerson to 
Grotius: 1414-1625: Seven Studies. Introduction by 
Garrett Mattingly TB/1032 

MYRON p. gilmore: The World of Humanism, 1453- 
1517. * Illus. TB/3003 

FRANCESCO GUicciARDiNi : Maxims and Reflections of a 
Renaissance Statesman (Ricordi). Trans, by Mario 
Domandi. Intro, by Nicolai Rubinstein tb/ii6o 

J. H. HEXTER: More's Utopia: The Biography of an Idea. 
New Epilogue by the Author TB/1195 

HAjo holborn: Ulrich von Hutten and the German Ref- 
ormation TB/1238 

jOHAN huizinga: Erasmus and the Age of Reforma- 
tion. -^ Illus. TB/19 

JOEL HURSTFiELD, Ed.: The Reformation Crisis ^ TB/1267 

ULRicH von hutten et al.: On the Eve of the Reforma- 
tion: "Letters of Obscure Men." Introduction by Hajo 
Holborn TB/1124 

PAUL o. KRiSTEiLER: Renaissancc Thought: The Classic, 
Scholastic, and Humanist Strains TB/1048 

PAUL o. kristeller: Renaissance Thought II: Papers on 
Humanism and the Arts TB/1163 

NiccoLO MACHIAVELLI: History of Florence and of the 
Affairs of Italy: from the earliest times to the death 
of Lorenzo the Magnificent. ^ Introduction by Felix 
Gilbert TB/1027 

ALFRED VON MARTIN: Sociology of the Renaissance. In- 
troduction by Wallace K. Ferguson TB/1099 

GARRETT MATTINGLY et al.: Renaissance Profiles. ^ Edited 
by 7. H. Plumb TB/1162 

MILLARD MEiss: Painting in Florence and Siena after the 
Black Death: The Arts, Religion and Society in the 
Mid-Fourteenth Century. ^ i6g illus. TB/1148 

J. E. NEALE: The Age of Catherine de Medici ° "^ TB/1085 

ERWiN panofsky: Studies in Iconology: Humanistic 
Themes in the Art of the Renaissance. '^ 180 illustra- 
tions TB/1077 

J. H. parry: The Establishment of the European He- 
gemony: 1415-1715: Trade and Exploration in the 
Age of the Renaissance ^ TB/1045 

J. H. PLUMB: The Italian Renaissance: A Concise Survey 
of Its History and Culture ^ tb/ii6i 

A. F. pollard: Henry VIII. ° ^ Introduction by A. G. 
Dickens TB/1249 

A. F. POLLARD: Wolsey. ° ^ Introduction by A. G. Dickens 


CECIL ROTH: The Jews in the Renaissance. Illus. TB/834 

A. L. RowsE: The Expansion of Elizabethan England. ° ^ 
Illus. TB/1220 

GORDON rupp: Luther's Progress to the Diet of Worms'"^ 


FERDINAND SCHEVILL: The Medici. Illus. tb/ioio 

FERDINAND SCHEVILL: Medieval and Renaissance Flor- 
ence. Illus. Volume I: Medieval Florence TB/1090 
Volume II: The Coming of Humanism and the Age of 
the Medici TB/1091 

G. M. trevelyn: England in the Age of Wycliffe, 1368- 
1520 ° ^ TB/1112 

VESPASiANO: Renaissance Princes, Popes, and Prelates: 
The Vespasiano Memoirs: Lives of Illustrious Men of 
the XVth Century. Intro, by Myron P. Gilmore 


History: Modern European 

FREDERICK B. ARTz: Reaction and Revolution, 1815- 

1832. » Illus. TB/3034 

MAX beloff: The Age of Absolutism, 1660-1815 - 

ROBERT c. binkley: Realism and Nationalism, 1852- 

1871. * lUus. TB/3038 

ASA BRiGGS: The Making of Modern England, 1784- 

1867: The Age of Improvement ° ^ TB/1203 

CRANE BRiNTON: A Decade of Revolution, 1789-1799. * 

Illus. TB/3018 

D. w. BROGAN: The Development of Modern France. ° ^ 
Volume I: From the Fall of the Empire to the Dreyfus 
Affair TB/1184 
Volume II: The Shadow of War, World War I, Be- 
tween the Two Wars. New Introduction by the Au- 
thor TB/1185 

J. BRONOWSKi & BRUCE MAZLisH: The Western Intellectual 
Tradition: From Leonardo to Hegel ^ TB/3001 

GEOFFREY BRUUN: Europc and the French Imperium, 
1799-1814. * Illus. TB/3033 

ALAN BULLOCK: Hitler, A Study in Tyranny. ° ^ Illus. 


E. H. carr: German-Soviet Relations Between the Two 
World Wars, 1919-1939 TB/1278 

E. H. carr: International Relations Between the Two 
World Wars, 1919-1939 " ^ TB/1279 

E. H. carr: The Twenty Years' Crisis, 1919-1939: An 
Introduction to the Study of International Rela- 
tions ° ^ TB/1122 

GORDON A. CRAIG: From Bismarck to Adenauer: Aspects 
of German Statecraft. Revised Edition TB/1171 

DENIS DIDEROT: The Encyclopedia: Selections. Ed. and 
trans, by Stephen Gendzier TB/1299 

WALTER L. dorn: Competition for Empire, 1740-1763. * 
Illus. TB/3032 

FRANKLIN L. FORD: Robe and Sword: The Regrouping of 
the French Aristocracy after Louis XIV TB/1217 

CARL J. FRiEDRiCH: The Age of the Baroque, 1610-1660. * 
Illus. TB/3004 

RENE FUELOEP-MiLLER: The Mind and Face of Bolshe- 
vism: An Examination of Cultural Life in Soviet 
Russia. New Epilogue by the Author tb/ii88 

M. DOROTHY GEORGE: London Life in the Eighteenth 
Century ^ TB/1182 

LEO gershoy: From Despotism to Revolution, 1763- 
1789. * Illus. TB/3017 

c. c. GiLLisPiE: Genesis and Geology: The Decades be- 
fore Darwin § TB/51 

ALBERT GOODWIN: The French Revolution ^ TB/1064 

ALBERT guerard: France in the Classical Age: The Life 
and Death of an Ideal ^ TB/1183 

CARLTON J. H. HAYES: A Generation of Materialism, 1871- 
1900. * Illus. TB/3039 

J. H. hexter: Reappraisals in History: New Views on 
History and Society in Early Modern Europe ^ 


STANLEY HOFFMANN et al. : In Search of France: The 
Economy, Society and Political System in the Twenti- 
eth Century TB/1219 

A. R. HUMPHREYS: The Augustan World: Society, 
Thought, & Letters in 18th Century England ° ^ 


DAN N. JACOBS, Ed.: The New Communist Maniresto 
and Related Documents. Third edition, revised 


LIONEL kochan: The Struggle for Germany: igi4-45 


HANS KOHN: The Mind of Germany: The Education of a 
Nation ^ TB/1204 

HANS KOHN, Ed.: The Mind of Modem Russia: Historical 
and Political Thought of Russia's Great Age TB/1065 

WALTER LAQUEUR & GEORGE L. MOSSE, Eds. : International 
Fascism, 1920-1945. ° ^ Volume I of Journal of Con- 
temporary History TB/1276 


Intellectuals between the Wars 1919-1939. " ^ Vol- 
ume 2 of Journal of Contemporary History TB/1286 


Coming of the First World War. ° ^ Volume 3 of 
Journal of Contemporary History . TB/1306 

FRANK E. MANUEL: The Prophets of Paris: Turgot, Con- 
dorcet, Saint-Simon, Fourier, and Comte tb/i2i8 

KiNGSLEY MARTIN: French Liberal Thought in the 
Eighteenth Century: A Study of Political Ideas from 
Bayle to Condorcet TB/1114 

L. B. NAMiER: Facing East: Essays on Germany, the 
Balkans, and Russia in the 20th Century ^ TB/1280 

L. B. NAMIER : Personalities and Powers: Selected Es- 
says ^ TB/1186 

L. B. NAMIER: Vanished Supremacies: Essays on Euro- 
pean History, i8i2-igi8 ° tb/io88 

JOHN u. nef: Western Civilization Since the Renais- 
sance: Peace, War, Industry, and the Arts TB/1113 

FRANZ NEUMANN: Behemoth: The Structure and Practice 
of National Socialism, ig^yig^^ TB/1289 

FREDERICK L. NUSSBAUM: The Triumph of Science and 
Reason, 1660-1685. * lUus. TB/3009 

DAVID OGG: Europe of the Ancien Regime, 1715- 
1783 ** o A TB/1271 

JOHN PLAMENATZ: German Marxism and Russian Com- 
munism. ^ New Preface by the Author TB/1189 

RAYMOND w. POSTGATE, Ed.: Revolution from 1789 to 
1906: Selected Documents TB/1063 

PENFiELD ROBERTS: The Quest for Security, 1715-1740. * 
Illus. TB/3016 

PRisciLLA ROBERTSON: Revolutions of 1848: A Social 
History TB/X025 

GEORGE rude: Revolutionary Europe, 1783-1815 ** '=^ 


LOUIS, Duc de SAINT-SIMON : Versailles, The Court, and 
Louis XIV. ° ^ Introductory Note by Peter Gay 


ALBERT SOREL: Europc Under the Old Regime. Translated 
by Francis H. Herrick TB/1121 

N. N. suKHANOv: The Russian Revolution, 1917: Eyewit- 
ness Account. ^ Edited by Joel Carmichael 

Vol. I tb/io66; Vol. II TB/1067 

A. J. P. TAYLOR: From Napoleon to Lenin: Historical Es- 
says " '^ TB/1268 

A. J. P. TAYLOR: The Habsburg Monarchy, 1809-1918: A 
History of the Austrian Empire and Austria-Hun- 
gary o '^ TB/1187 

G. M. TREVELYAN: British History in the Nineteenth Cen- 
tury and After: iy82-igig. ° ^ Second Edition TB/1251 

H. R. TREVOR-ROPER : Historical Essays ° ^ TB/1269 

ELIZABETH wisKEMANN: Europe of the Dictators, 1919- 

1945 *» O A TB/1273 

JOHN B. WOLF: The Emergence of the Great Powers, 
1685-1715. * Illus. TB/3010 

JOHN B. wolf: France: 1814-1919: The Rise of a Liberal- 
Democratic Society TB/3019 

Intellectual History & History of Ideas 

HERSCHEL BAKER: The Image of Man: A Study of the 
Idea of Human Dignity in Classical Antiquity, the 
Middle Ages, and the Renaissance TB/1047 

R. R. bolgar: The Classical Heritage and Its Benefici- 
aries: From the Carolingian Age to the End of the 
Renaissance ^ TB/1125 

RANDOLPH s. bourne: War and the Intellectuals: Col- 
lected Essays, 1915-1919. ^ t Edited by Carl Resek 


J. BRONOWSKI & BRUCE MAZLISH: The Westcm Intellectual 
Tradition: From Leonardo to Hegel ^ TB/3001 

ERNST cassirer: The Individual and the Cosmos in 
Renaissance Philosophy. ^ Translated with an Intro- 
duction by Mario Domandi TB/1097 

NORMAN cohn: The Pursuit of the Millennium: Revo- 
lutionary Messianism in Medieval and Reformation 
Europe ^ TB/1037 

c. c. gillispie: Genesis and Geology: The Decades be- 
fore Darwin § tB''51 
G. RACHEL levy: Religious Conceptions of the Stone Age 

and Their Influence upon European Thought. ^ lllus. 

Introduction by Henri Frankfort tb/io6 

ARTHUR o. lovejoy: The Great Chain of Being: A Study 

of the History of an Idea tb/iooq 

FRANK E. MANUEL: The Prophets of Paris: Turgot, Con- 

dorcet, Saint-Simon, Fourier, and Comte ^ tb/i2i8 
PERRY MILLER & T. H. JOHNSON, Editors : The Puritans: A 

Sourcebook of Their Writings 

Vol. I TB/1093; Vol. II TB/1094 
MILTON c. nahm: Genius and Creativity: An Essay in 

the History of Ideas TB/1196 

ROBERT PAYNE: Hubris: A Study of Pride. Foreword by 

Sir Herbert Read TB/1031 

RALPH BARTON PERRY: The Thought and Character of 

William James: Briefer Version TB/1156 

GEORG siMMEL et al.: Essays on Sociology, Philosophy, 

and Aesthetics. H Edited by Kurt H. Wolff TB/1234 
BRUNO snell: The Discovery of the Mind: The Greek 

Origins of European Thought ^ tb/ioi8 

PAGET toynbee: Dante Alighieri: His Life and Works. 

Edited with Intro, by Charles S. Singleton ^ TB/1206 
ERNEST LEE TUVESON : Millennium and Utopia: A Study 

in the Background of the Idea of Progress. H New 

Preface by the Author TB/1134 

PAUL valery: The Outlook for Intelligence ^ TB/2016 
w. warren wagar, Ed.: European Intellectual History 

since Darwin and Marx 


PHILIP p. wiener: Evolution and the Founders of Prag- 
matism. ^ Foreword by John Dewey TB/1212 

BASIL willey: Nineteenth Century Studies: Coleridge to 
Matthew Arnold ° ^ TB/1261 

BASIL willey: More Nineteenth Century Studies: A 
Group of Honest Doubters ° ^ TB/1262 


EDWARD s. CORWIN: American Constitutional History: 
Essays edited by Alpheus T. Mason & Gerald Garvey 


ROBERT H. JACKSON: The Supreme Court in the Ameri- 
can System of Government tb/iio6 

LEONARD w. LEVY, Ed.: American Constitutional Law: 
Historical Essays TB/1285 

LEONARD w. levy: Freedom of Speech and Press in Early 
American History: Legacy of Suppression TB'1109 

LEONARD w. levy, Ed.: Judicial Review and the Supreme 
Court TB/1296 

LEONARD w. LEVY: The Law of the Commonwealth and 
Chief Justice Shaw TB/1309 

Literature, Poetry, The Novel & Criticism 

JAMES BAiRD: Ishmael: The Art of Melville in the Con- 
texts of International Primitivism TB/1023 

JACQUES BARZUN: The House of Intellect ^ TB/io5a 

w. J. BATE: From Classic to Romantic: Premises of Taste 
in Eighteenth Century England TB/1036 

RACHEL bespaloff: On the Iliad TB/2006 

R. p. BLACKMUR et al.: Lectures in Criticism. Introduc- 
tion by Huntington Cairns TB/2003 

JAMES BOSWELL: The Life of Dr. Johnson & The Journal 
of a Tour to the Hebrides with Samuel Johnson 
LL.D.: Selections. ° ^ Edited by F. V. Morley. lllus. by 
Ernest Shepard TB/1254 

ABRAHAM CAHAN: The Rise of David Levinsky: a docu- 
mentary novel of social mobility in early twentieth 
century America. Intro, by John Higham TB/1028 

ERNST R. cuRTius: European Literature and the Latin 
Middle Ages ^ TB/2015 

ADOLF ERMAN, Ed.: The Ancient Egyptians: A Source- 
book of Their Writings. New Material and Introduc- 
tion by William Kelly Simpson TB/1233 

ETiENNE gilson: Dante and Philosophy TB/1089 

ALFRED HARBACE: As They Liked It: A Study of Shakes- 
peare's Moral Artistry TB/1035 

STANLEY R. HOPPER, Ed : Spiritual Problems in Con- 
temporary Literature § TB/21 

A. R. HUMPHREYS: The Augustan World: Society, 
Thought and Letters in 18th Century England ° ^ 


ALDOus HUXLEY: Antic Hay & The Giaconda Smile. " ^ 
Introduction by Martin Green TB/3503 

ARNOLD kettle: An Introduction to the English NoveL ^ 
Volume I: Defoe to George Eliot tb/ioii 

Volume II: Henry James to the Present TB/1012 

RICHMOND lattimore: The Poetry of Greek Tragedy ^ 


J. B. LEiSHMAN: The Monarch of Wit: An Analytical and 
Comparative Study of the Poetry of John Donne ° ^ 


J. B. LEISHMAN: Themes and Variations in Shakespeare's 
Sonnets ° ^ TB/1259 

ROGER SHERMAN LOOMis: The Development of Arthurian 
Romance ^ tb/ii67 

JOHN STUART MILL: On Bentham and Coleridge. -^ Intro- 
duction by F. R. Leavis tb/io/o 

KENNETH B. MURDOCK: Literature and Theology in 
Colonial New England TB/99 

SAMUEL PEPYS: The Diary of Samuel Pepys. ° Edited by 
O. F. Morshead. lllus. by Ernest Shepard tb/ioo/ 

st.-john PERSE: Seamarks 73/2002 

V. DE s. PINTO: Crisis in English Poetry, 1880-1940 ° 


ROBERT PREYER, Ed.: Victorian Literature TB/1302 

GEORGE santayana: Interpretations of Poetry and Re- 
ligion § TB/9 

c. K. stead: The New Poetic: Yeats to Eliot ^ TB/1263 

HEiNRiCH straumann: American Literature in the 
Twentieth Century. ^ Third Edition, Revised tb/ii68 

PAGET TOYNBEE: Dante Alighieri: Hi's Life and Works. 
Edited with Intro, by Charles S. Singleton TB/1206 

DOROTHY VAN GHENT: The English Novel: Form and 
Function 73/1050 

E. B. WHITE: One Man's Meat. Introduction by Walter 
Blair TB/3505 

BASIL willey: Nineteenth Century Studies: Coleridge to 
Matthew Arnold ^ TB/1261 

BASIL WILLEY: More Nineteenth Century Studies: A 
Group of Honest Doubters ° " TB/1262 

RAYMOND WILLIAMS: Culture and Society, 1780-1950 ° ^ 


RAYMOND WILLIAMS: The Long Revolution. ° ^ Revised 
Edition T3/1253 

MORTON DAUWEN ZABEL, Editor: Literary Opinion in 
America Vol. I 73/3013; Vol. II 73/3014 

Myth, Symbol & Folklore 

JOSEPH CAMPBELL, Editor: Pagan and Christian Mysteries 
lllus. 73/2013 

MiRCEA ELiADE: Cosmos and History: The Myth of the 
Eternal Return § ^ 73/2050 

MIRCEA ELIADE: Rites and Symbols of Initiation: The 
Mysteries of Birth and Rebirth § ^ 73/1236 

THEODOR H. GASTER: Thespis : Ritual, Myth and Drama 
in the Ancient Near East ^ TB/1281 

c. G. JUNG & c. KERENYi: Essays On a Science of Myth- 
ology: The Myths of the Divine Child and the Divine 
Maiden TB/2014 

DORA & ERWiN PANOFSKY : Pandora's Box: The Changing 
Aspects of a Mythical Symbol. ^ Revised edition, 
lllus. TB/2021 

ERWIN PANOFSKY: Studies in Iconology: Humanistic 
Themes in the Art of the Renaissance. ^ 180 illustra- 
tions 73/1077 

JEAN SEZNEC: The Survival of the Pagan Gods: The 
Mythological Tradition and its Place in Renaissance 
Humanism and Art. ^ 108 illustrations 73/2004 

HELLMUT wilhelm: Change: Eight Lectures on the I 
Ching ^ TB/2019 

HEiNRicH zimmer: Myths and Symbols in Indian Art and 
Civilization. '^ jo illustrations TB/2005 


G. E. M. anscombe: An Introduction to Wittgenstein's 
Tractatus. ° ^ Second Edition, Revised tb/izio 

HENRI BERGSON: Time and Free Will: An Essay on the 
Immediate Data of Consciousness ° ^ tb/io2i 

H. J. BLACKHAM: Six Existentialist Thinkers: Kierke- 
gaard, Nietzsche, Jaspers, Marcel, Heidegger, Sartre ° ^ 


CRANE brinton: Nietzsche. New Preface, Bibliography 
and Epilogue by the Author 73/1197 

MARTIN buber: The Knowledge of Man. ^ Ed. with an 
Intro, by Maurice Friedman. Trans, by Maurice Fried- 
man and Ronald Cregor Smith TB/135 

ERNST CASSIRER: The Individual and the Cosmos in 
Renaissance Philosophy. ^ Translated with an Intro- 
duction by Mario Domandi TB/1097 

ERNST CASSIRER: Rousseau, Kant and Goethe. Introduc- 
tion by Peter Gay TB/1092 

FREDERICK coPLESTON : Medieval Philosophy " ^ TB/376 

F. M. coRNFORD: Principium Sapientiae: A Study of the 
Origins of Creek Philosophical Thought. Edited by 
W. K. C. Guthrie TB/1213 

F. M. CORNFORD: From Religion to Philosophy: A Study 
in the Origins of Western Speculation § TB/20 

WILFRID DESAN: The Tragic Finale: An Essay on the 
Philosophy of Jean-Paul Sartre TB/1030 

A. P. d'entreves: Natural Law: An Historical Survey ^ 


MARVIN farber: The Aims of Phenomenology: The 
Motives, Methods, and Impact of Husserl's Thought 


MARVIN farber: Phenomenology and Existence: To- 
wards a Philosophy within Nature TB/1295 

HERBERT FINGARETTE: The Self in Transformation: Psy- 
choanalysis, Philosophy and the Life of the Spirit H 


PAUL friedlander: Plato : An Introduction ^ TB/2017 

ETiENNE gilson: Dante and Philosophy TB/1089 

J. GLENN gray: The Warriors: Reflections on Men in 
Battle. Intro, by Hannah Arendt TB/1294 

WILLIAM CHASE GREENE: Moira : Fate, Good, and Evil in 
Greek Thought TB/1104 

w. K. c. GUTHRIE: The Greek Philosophers: From Thales 
to Aristotle ° ^ tb/ioo8 

G. w. F. HEGEL: The Phenomenology of Mind ° ^ 


F. H. heinemann: Existentialism and the Modern Pre- 
dicament ^ TB/28 

ISAAC husik: a History of Medieval Jewish Philosophy 


EDMUND husserl: Phenomenology and the Crisis of 
Philosophy. Translated with an Introduction by 
Quentin Lauer Ta/i^yo 

IMMANUEL KANT: The Doctrinc of Virtue, being Part II 
of the Metaphysic of Morals. Trans, with Notes & 
Intro, by Mary J. Gregor. Foreword by H. J. Paton 


IMMANUEL KANT: Groundwork of the Metaphysic of 
Morals. Trans. & analyzed by H. J. Paton TB/1159 

IMMANUEL KANT: Lectures on Ethics. § ^ Introduction by 
Lewis W. Beck TB/105 

IMMANUEL KANT: Religion Within the Limits of Reason 
Alone. § Intro, by T. M. Greene & J. Silber TB/67 

QUENTIN LAUER: Phenomenology : Its Genesis and Pros- 
pect TB/1169 

GABRIEL marcel: Being and Having: An Existential 
Diary. ^ Intro, by James Collins TB/310 

GEORGE a. MORGAN: What Nietzsche Means TB/1198 

philo, saadya gaon, & jEHUDA HALEVi: Three Jewish 

Philosophers. Ed. by Hans Lewy, Alexander Altmann, 
&Isaak Heinemann TB/813 

MICHAEL POLANYI: Personal Knowledge: Towards a Post- 
Critical Philosophy ^ TB/1158 

wiLLARD VAN ORMAN QuiNE : Elementary Logic: Revised 
Edition TB/577 

WILLARD VAN ORMAN QUINE: From a Logical Point of 
View: Logico-Philosophical Essays TB/566 

BERTRAND RUSSELL et al. : The Philosophy of Bertrand 
Russell. Edited by Paul Arthur Schilpp 

Vol. I TB/1095; Vol. II TB/1096 

L. s. STEBBiNG: A Modem Introduction to Logic ^ TB/538 

ALFRED NORTH WHITEHEAD: Process and Reality: An 
Essay in Cosmology ^ TB/1033 

PHILIP p. WIENER: Evolution and the Founders of Prag- 
matism. Foreword by John Dewey TB/1212 

WILHELM wiNDELBAND: A History of Philosophy 

Vol. I: Greek, Roman, Medieval TB/38 

Vol. II: Renaissance, Enlightenment, Modern TB/39 

LUDWiG WITTGENSTEIN: The Blue and Brown Books ° 


Political Science & Government 

JEREMY BENTHAM: The Handbook of Political Fallacies: 
Introduction by Crane Brinton TB/1069 

KENNETH E. BOULDiNG : Conflict and Defense: A General 
Theory TB/3024 

CRANE brinton: English Political Thought in the Nine- 
teenth Century TB/1071 

ROBERT conquest: Power and Policy in the USSR: The 
Study of Soviet Dynasties '^ TB/1307 

EDWARD s. corwin: American Constitutional History: 
Essays edited by Alpheus T. Mason and Gerald Gar- 
vey TB/1136 


and Welfare: Planning and Politico-Economic Sys- 
tems Resolved into Basic Social Processes TB/3037 

JOHN NEVILLE FIGGIS: The Divine Right of Kings. Intro- 
duction by G. R. Elton TB/1191 

JOHN NEVILLE FIGGIS: Political Thought from Gerson to 
Grotius: 1414-1625: Seven Studies. Introduction by 
Garrett Mattingly TB/1032 

F. L. GANSHOF: Feudalism ^ TB/1058 

G. P. GOOCH: English Democratic Ideas in the Seven- 
teenth Century tb/ioo6 

J. H. hexter: More's Utopia: The Biography of an Idea. 
New Epilogue by the Author TB/1195 

SIDNEY hook: Reason, Social Myths and Democracy '^ 


ROBERT h. JACKSON: The Supreme Court in the American 
System of Government ^ tb/iio6 

DAN N. JACOBS, Ed.: The New Communist Manifesto and 
Related Documents. Third Edition, Revised TB/1078 

DAN N. JACOBS & HANS BAERWALD, Eds. : Chinese Com- 
munism: Selected Documents TB/3031 

HANS kohn: Political Ideologies of the 20th Century 


ROBERT GREEN MCCLOSKEY: American Conservatism in 
the Age of Enterprise, 1865-1910 TB/1137 

KiNGSLEY MARTIN: French Liberal Thought in the 
Eighteenth Century: Political Ideas from Bayle to 
Condorcet ^ TB/1114 

ROBERTO MiCHELs: First Lectures in Political Sociology. 
Edited by Alfred de Grazia H » TB/1224 

JOHN STUART MILL: On Bentham and Coleridge. ^ In- 
troduction by F. R. Leavis - TB/1070 

BARRINCTON MOORE, JR.: PoHtical Power and Social 
Theory: Seven Studies If TB/1221 

BARRiNGTON MOORE, JR. : Soviet Politics— The Dilemma 
of Power: The Role of Ideas in Social Change H 


BARRINGTON MOORE, JR.: Terror and Progress— USSR: 
Some Sources of Change and Stability in the Soviet 
Dictatorship t ' TB/1266 

JOHN B. MORRALL: Political Thought in Medieval 
Times ^ TB/1076 

JOHN PLAMENATZ: German Marxism and Russian Com- 
munism. " ^ New Preface by the Author TB/1189 

KARL R. POPPER: The Open Society and Its Enemies ^ 
Vol. I: The Spell of Plato tb/iioi 

Vol. II: The High Tide of Prophecy: Hegel, Marx and 
the Aftermath 73/1102 

HENRI DE SAINT-SIMON: Social Organization, The Science 
of Man, and Other Writings. Edited and Translated 
by Felix Markham TB/1152 

JOSEPH A. SCHUMPETER: Capitalism, Socialism and 
Democracy ^ TB/3008 

BENJAMIN I. SCHWARTZ: Chinese Communism and the 
Rise of Mao TB/1308 

CHARLES H. SHiNN: Mining Camps: A Study in American 
Frontier Government. X Edited by Rodman W. Paul 


PETER WOLL, Ed.: Public Administration and Policy: Se- 
lected Essays TB/1284 


ALFRED ADLER: The Individual Psychology of Alfred 
Adler. -^ Edited by Heinz L. and Roioena R. Ansbacher 


ALFRED ADLER: Problems of Neurosis. Introduction by 

Heinz L. Ansbacher TB/1145 

ANTON T. boisen: The Exploration of the Inner World: 

A Study of Mental Disorder and Religious Experience 



Studies of Personality 

Vol. I TB/3075; Vol. II TB/3076 

HADLEY CANTRiL: The Invasion from Mars: A Study in 
the Psychology of Panic H TB/1282 

HERBERT FiNGARETTE : The Self in Transformation: Psy- 
choanalysis, Philosophy and the Life of the Spirit H 


siGMUND FREUD: On Creativity and the Unconscious: 
Papers on the Psychology of Art, Literature, Love, 
Religion. § ^ Intro, by Benjamin Nelson TB/45 

c. JUDSON herrick: The Evolution of Human Nature 


WILLIAM JAMES: Psychology: The Briefer Course. Edited 
with an Intro, by Gordon Allport TB/1034 

c. G. JUNG: Psychological Reflections ^ TB/2001 

c. G. JUNG: Symbols of Transformation: An Analysis of 
the Prelude to a Case of Schizophrenia. -^ Illus. 

Vol. I TB/2009; Vol. II TB/2010 

c. G. JUNG &. c. KERENYi: Essays on a Science of Mytholo- 
gy: The Myths of the Divine Child and the Divine 
Maiden TB/2014 

JOHN T. MCNEILL: A History of the Cure of Souls 


KARL menninger: Theory of Psychoanalytic Technique 


ERICH NEUMANN: AmoT and Psyche: The Psychic De- 
velopment of the Feminine ^ TB/2012 

ERICH NEUMANN: The Archetypal World of Henry 
Moore. ^ 107 illus. TB/2020 

ERICH NEUMANN : The Origins and History of Conscious- 
ness ^ Vol. I Illus. TB/2007; Vol. II TB/2008 

c. P. OBERNDORF: A History of Psychoanalysis in America 


RALPH BARTON PERKY: The Thought and Character of 
William James: Briefer Version TB/1156 


Child's Conception of Geometry ° ^ TB/1146 

JOHN H. SCHAAR: Escape from Authority: The Perspec- 
tives of Erich Fromm TB/1155 
MUZAFER sherif: The Psychology of Social Norms 



JACQUES barzun: Race: A Study in Superstition. Revised 
Edition TB/1172 

BERNARD BERELSON, Ed. : The Behavioral Sciences Today 


ABRAHAM CAHAN: The Risc of David Levinsky: A docu- 
mentary novel of social mobility in early twentieth 
century America. Intro, by John Higham TB/1028 

THOMAS c. COCHRAN: The Inner Revolution: Essays on 
the Social Sciences in History TB/1140 

LEWIS A. cosER, Ed.: Political Sociology TB/i2g3 

ALLISON DAVIS & JOHN DOLLARD: Children of Bondage: 
The Personality Development of Negro Youth in the 
Urban South H TB/3049 

ST. CLAIR DRAKE & HORACE R. CAYTON : Black Metropolis: 
A Study of Negro Life in a Northern City. ^ Revised 
and Enlarged. Intro, by Everett C. Hughes 

Vol. I TB/1086; Vol. II TB/1087 

EMiLE DURKHEiM et al.: Essays on Sociology and Philoso- 
phy: With Analyses of Durkheim's Life and Work. K 
Edited by Kurt H. Wolff tb/ii51 


When Prophecy Fails: A Social and Psychological Ac- 
count of a Modern Group that Predicted the Destruc- 
tion of the World If TB/1132 

ALviN w. GOULDNER: Wildcat Strike: A Study in Worker- 
Management Relationships H TB/1176 

FRANCIS J. GRUND: Aristocracy in America: Social Class 
in the Formative Years of the New Nation '^ tb/iooi 

KURT LEWiN: Field Theory in Social Science: Selected 
Theoretical Papers. H ^ Edited with a Foreword by 
Dorwin Cartwright TB/1135 

R. M. MACivER: Social Causation TB/1153 


JR., Editors: Sociology Today: Problems and Pros- 
pects ^ Vol. I TB/1173; Vol. II TB/1174 

ROBERTO MiCHELS: First Lectures in Political Sociology. 
Edited by Alfred de Grazia tl ° TB/1224 

BARRiNGTON MOORE, JR.: Political Power and Social 
Theory: Seven Studies H TB/1221 

BARRINGTON MOORE, JR.: Soviet Politics — The Dilemma 
of Power: The Role of Ideas in Social Change II 


a General Theory of Action: Theoretical Foundations 
for the Social Sciences TB/1083 


Generation Grows Up: Cultures and Personalities of 
New Orleans Negroes If TB/3050 

ARNOLD ROSE: The Negro in America: The Condensed 
Version of Gunnar Myrdal's An American Dilemma 


KURT SAMUELSSON: Religion and Economic Action: A 
Critique of Max Weber's The Protestant Ethic and 
the Spirit of Capitalism. II ° Trans, by E. G. French. 
Ed. with Intro, by D. C. Coleman TB/1131 

PHILIP sELZNicK: TVA and the Grass Roots: A Study in 
the Sociology of Formal Organization TB/1230 

GEORG siMMEL et al.: Essays on Sociology, Philosophy, 
and Aesthetics. H Edited by Kurt H. Wolff TB/1234 

HERBERT SIMON: The Shape of Automation: For Men 
and Management ^ TB/1245 

piTiRiM A. SOROKIN: Contemporary Sociological Theories. 
Through the First Quarter of the 20th Century TB/3046 

MAURICE R. stein: The Eclipse of Community: An Inter- 
pretation of American Studies TB/1128 

FERDINAND TONNiEs : Community and Society: Gemein- 
schaft und Gesellschaft. Translated and edited by 
Charles P. Loomis tb/iii6 

w. LLOYD WARNER & Associates: Democracy in Jones- 
ville: A Study in Quality and Inequality TB/1129 

w. LLOYD WARNER: Social Class in America: The Evalua- 
tion of Status TB/1013 


Ancient & Classical 

J. H. breasted: Development of Religion and Thought in 
Ancient Egypt. Intro, by John A. Wilson TB/57 

HENRI FRANKFORT: Ancient Egyptian Religion: An In- 
terpretation TB/77 

G. RACHEL levy: Religious Conceptions of the Stone Age 
and their Influence upon European Thought. "^ Illus. 
Introduction by Henri Frankfort tb/io6 

MARTIN p. nilsson: Greek Folk Religion. Foreword by 
Arthur Darby Nock TB/78 

ALEXANDRE PiANKOFF: The Shfincs of Tut-Ankh-Amon. ^ 
Edited by N. Rambova. iij illus. tb/zoii 

ERWiN rohde: Psyche: The Cult of Souls and Belief in 
Immortality Among the Greeks. ^ Intro, by W. K. C. 
Guthrie Vol. I TB/140; Vol. II TB/141 

H. J. ROSE: Religion in Greece and Rome ^ TB/55 

Biblical Thought & Literature 

w. F. ALBRIGHT: The Biblical Period from Abraham to 
Ezra TB/102 

c. K. BARRETT, Ed.: The New Testament Background: 
Selected Documents ^ tb/86 

c. H. dodd: The Authority of the Bible ^ TB/43 

M. s. ENSLiN: Christian Beginnings '^ TB/5 

M. 5. ENSLIN: The Literature of the Christian Move- 
ment ^ tb/6 

JOHN GRAY: Archaeology and the Old Testament 
World. ^ Illus. TB/127 

JAMES MuiLENBURG: The Way of Israel: Biblical Faith 
and Ethics -^ TB/133 

H. H. ROWLEY: The Growth of the Old Testament ^ 


GEORGE ADAM SMITH: The Historical Geography of the 
Holy Land. ° ^ Revised and reset TB/138 

D. wiNTON THOMAS, Ed.: Documents from Old Testament 
Times -^ TB/85 

WALTHER ziMMERLi: The Law and the Prophets: A Study 
of the Meaning of the Old Testament ■^ TB/144 

The Judaic Tradition 

LEO BAECK: Judaism and Christianity. Trans, with Intro, 
by Walter Kaufmann TB/823 

SALO w. BARON: Modem Nationalism and Religion 


MARTIN buber: Eclipse of God: Studies in the Relation 
Between Religion and Philosophy ^ tb/i2 

MARTIN buber: Fot the Sake of Heaven tb/8oi 

MARTIN BUBER: Hasidism and Modern Man. ^ Ed. and 
Trans, by Maurice Friedman TB/839 

MARTIN buber: The Knowledge of Man. ■^ Edited with an 
Introduction by Maurice Friedman. Translated by 
Maurice Friedman and Ronald Gregor Smith TB/135 

MARTIN buber: Moses: The Revelation and the Cove- 
nant - TB/837 

MARTIN BUBER: The Origin and Meaning of Hasidism ^ 


MARTIN BUBER: Pointing the Way. ^ Introduction by 
Maurice S. Friedman TB/103 

MARTIN buber: The Prophetic Faith TB/73 

MARTIN BUBER: Two Types of Faith: the interpenetration 
of Judaism and Christianity ° ^ "^^^75 

ERNST LUDWiG EHRLicH: A Concise History of Israel: 
From the Earliest Times to the Destruction of the 
Temple in A.D. 70° ^ TB/128 

MAURICE s. FRIEDMAN: Martin Buber: The Life of Dia- 
logue ^ TB/64 

GENESIS: The NJV Translation TB/836 

SOLOMON grayzel: A History of the Contemporary Jews 


WILL herberg: Judaism and Modern Man tb/8io 

ARTHUR hertzberg : The Zionist Idea TB/817 

ABRAHAM J. heschel : God in Search of Man: A Philoso- 
phy of Judaism TB/807 

ISAAC husik: a History of Medieval Jewish Philosophy 


FLAVius josEPHUS: The Great Roman-Jewish War, with 
The Life of Josephus. Introduction by William R. 
Farmer ^^/^^ 

JACOB R. MARCUS: The Jew in the Medieval World TB/814 


Jewish People tb/8o6 

T. J. MEEK: Hebrew Origins TB/69 

JAMES PARKES: The Conflict of the Church and the Syna- 
gogue: The Jews and Early Christianity jp/21 
Philosophers. Ed. by Hans Lewey, Alexander Alt- 
mann, & Isaak Heinemann TB/813 
CECIL ROTH: A History of the Marranos tb/8i2 
CECIL ROTH: The Jews in the Renaissance. Illus. TB/834 
HERMAN L. strack: Introduction to the Talmud and 
Midrash tb/8o8 
JOSHUA trachtenberg : The Devil and the Jews: The 
Medieval Conception of the Jew and its Relation to 
Modern Anti-Semitism tb/822 

Christianity: General 

ROLAND H. bainton: Christendom: A Short History of 
Christianity and its Impact on Western Civilization. ^ 
Illus. Vol. I TB/131; Vol. II TB/132 

Christianity: Origins & Early Development 

AUGUSTINE: An Augustine Synthesis. ^ Edited by Erich 
Przywara TB/335 

ADOLF DEissMANN: Paul: A Study in Social and Religious 
History TB/15 

EDWARD GIBBON: The Triumph of Christendom in the 
Roman Empire (Chaps. XV-XX of "Decline and Fall," 
7. B. Bury edition). § ^ Illus. TB/46 

MAURICE goguel: Jesus and the Origins of Christi- 
anity. ° '^ Introduction by C. Leslie Mitton 
Volume I: Prolegomena to the Life of Jesus TB/65 
Volume II: The Life of Jesus tb/66 

EDGAR J. goodspeed: A Life of Jesus tb/i 

ROBERT M. grant: Gnosticism and Early Christianity. ^ 
Revised Edition TB/136 

ADOLF HARNACK: The Mission and Expansion of Christi- 
anity in the First Three Centuries. Introduction by 
Jaroslav Pelikan TB/92 

R. K. HARRISON: The Dead Sea Scrolls : An Introduc- 
tion ° ^ TB/84 

EDWIN HATCH: The Influence of Greek Ideas on Christi- 
anity. § ^ Introduction and Bibliography by Frederick 
C. Grant tb/i8 

ARTHUR DARBY NOCK: Early Gentile Christianity and Its 
Hellenistic Background tb/iii 

ARTHUR DARBY NOCK: St. PauI ° '^ TB/104 

origen: On First Principles. ^ Edited by G. W. Butter- 
worth. Introduction by Henri de Lubac TB/311 

JAMES PARKES : The Conflict of the Church and the Syna- 
gogue: The Jews and Early Christianity jp/21 

suLPicius SEVERUS et al.: The Western Fathers: Being the 
Lives of Martin of Tours, Ambrose, Augustine of 
Hippo, Honoratus of Aries and Germanus of Aux- 
erre. ^ Edited and translated by F. R. Hoare TB/309 

F. VAN DER meer: Augustine the Bishop: Church and 
Society at the Dawn of the Middle Ages ^ TB/304 

JOHANNES WEISS: Earliest Christianity: A History of the 

Period A.D. 30-150. Introduction and Bibliography 

by Frederick C. Grant Volume I TB/53 

Volume II TB/54 

C hristianity: The Middle Ages and The 

ANSELM OF CANTERBURY: Truth, Freedom and Evil: Three 
Philosophical Dialogues. Ed., trans., and Intro, by 
Jasper Hopkins & Herbert Richardson TB/517 

bate. Edited by John C. Olin TB/1239 

G. constant: The Reformation in England: The English 
Schism, Henry VUI, 1509-1^47 ^ tb/314 

CHRISTOPHER DAWSON, Ed.: Mission to Asia: Narratives 
and Letters of the Franciscan Missionaries in Mon- 
golia and China in the 13th and 14th Centuries ^ 


JOHANNES eckhart: Meister Eckhart: A Modern Trans- 
lation by R. B. Blakney tb/8 

DESiDERius ERASMUS: Christian Humanism and the 
Reformation: Selected Writings. Edited and trans- 
lated by John C. Olin tb/ii66 

ETiENNE GiLSON: Dante and Philosophy ^ TB/1089 

WILLIAM haller: The Rise of Puritanism ^ TB/22 

HAjo holborn: Ulrich von Hutten and the German Ref- 
ormation TB/1238 

JOHAN huizinga: Erasmus and the Age of Reforma- 
tion. ^ Illus. TB/19 

a. c. mc giffert: Protestant Thought Before Kant ^ Pref- 
ace by Jaroslav Pelikan TB/93 

JOHN T. MCNEILL: Makers of the Christian Tradition: 
From Alfred the Great to Schleiermacher ^ tb/i2i 

G. mollat: The Popes at Avignon, 1305-1378 ^ TB/308 

GORDON RUPP: Luther's Progress to the Diet of 
Worms ° ^ tb/i20 

Christianity. The Protestant Tradition 

KARL EARTH: ChuTch Dogmatics: A Selection ^ TB/95 

KARL barth: Dogmatics in Outline ^ TB/56 

KARL barth: The Word of God and the Word of Man 


RUDOLF BULTMANN et al : Translating Theology into the 
Modern Age: Historical, Systematic and Pastoral Re- 
flections on Theology and the Church in the Con- 
temporary Situation. Volume 2 of Journal for The- 
ology and the Church, edited by Robert W. Funk in 
association with Gerhard Ebeling TB/252 

WHITNEY R. cross: The Burned-Over District: The Social 
and Intellectual History of Enthusiastic Religion in 
Western New York, 1800-18^0 '^ TB/1242 

wiNTHROP HUDSON: The Great Tradition of the American 
Churches TB/98 

SOREN KIERKEGAARD: On Authority and Revelation: The 
Book on Adler. Translated by Walter Lowrie. Intro, 
by Frederick Sontag TB/139 

soREN KIERKEGAARD: Crisis in the Life of an Actress and 
Other Essays on Drama. ^ Trans, with Intro, by 
Stephen D. Crites TB/145 

SOREN KIERKEGAARD: Edifying Discourses. Edited with 
an Introduction by Paul Holmer TB/32 

soREN KIERKEGAARD: The Joumals of Kierkegaard. » -^ 
Ed. with Intro, by Alexander Dru TB/52 

soREN KIERKEGAARD : The Point of View for My Work as 
an Author: A Report to History. § Preface by Benja- 
min Nelson tb/88 

SOREN KIERKEGAARD: The Present Age. § ^ Translated 
and edited by Alexander Dru. Introduction by Walter 
Kaufmann TB/94 

SOREN KIERKEGAARD: Purity of Heart '^ TB/4 

SOREN KIERKEGAARD: Repetition: An Essay in Experi- 
mental Psychology. ^ Translated with Introduction & 
Notes by Walter Lowrie tb/ii/ 

SOREN KIERKEGAARD: Works of Love: Some Christian 
Reflections in the Form of Discourses ^ TB/122 

WALTER LOWRIE: Kierkegaard: A Lz/e Vol.1 tb/Sq 

Vol.11 TB/90 

JOHN macquarrie: The Scope of Demythologizing: 
Bultmann and His Critics " TB/134 

PERRY MILLER & T. H. JOHNSON, Editors: The Puritans: A 

Sourcebook of Their Writings Vol. I TB/1093 

Vol. II TB/1094 

JAMES m. ROBINSON et al.: The Bultmann School of Bibli- 
cal Interpretation: New Directions? Volume 1 of 
Journal for Theology and the Church, edited by Rob- 
ert W . Funk in association with Gerhard Ebeling 


F. SCHLEIERMACHER: The Christian Faith. ^ Introduction 

by Richard R. Niebuhr Vol. I tb/io8 

Vol. II TB/109 

F. SCHLEIERMACHER: On Religion: Speeches to Its Cul- 
tured Despisers. Intro, by Rudolf Otto TB/36 

TIMOTHY L. SMITH: Revivalism and Social Reform: 
American Protestantism on the Eve of the Civil War 

PAUL TiLLiCH: Dynamics of Faith ^ TB/42 

PAUL TiLLiCH: Morality and Beyond TB/142 

EVELYN underhill: Worship ^ tb/io 

Christianity: The Roman and Eastern 

DOM cuthbert butler: Western Mysticism: The Teach- 
ing of Augustine, Gregory and Bernard on Contem- 
plation and the Contemplative Life § ° "^ TB/312 

A ROBERT caponigri, Ed.: Modcm Catholic Thinkers I: 
God and Man ^ TB/306 

A. ROBERT CAPONIGRI, Ed.: Modem Catholic Thinkers II: 
The Church and the Political Order^ TB/307 

THOMAS coRBiSHLEY, S.J.: Roman Catholicism ^ tb/ii2 

CHRISTOPHER DAWSON: The Historic Reality of Christian 
Culture TB/305 

G. p. FEDOTOV: The Russian Religious Mind: Kievan 
Christianity, the loth to the 13th centuries TB/370 

G. P. FEDOTOV, Ed.: A Treasury of Russian Spirituality 

ETIENNE GILSON: The Spirit of Thomism TB/313 

DAVID KNOWLES: The English Mystical Tradition ^ 


GABRIEL MARCEL: Being and Having: An Existential 

Diary. ■^ Introduction by James Collins TB/310 

GABRIEL MARCEL: Homo VialoT: Introduction to a Meta- 

physic of Hope TB/397 

FRANCIS DE SALES: Introduction to the Devout Life. 

Trans, by John K. Ryan TB/316 

GUS'iAVE WEiGEL, s. J.: Catholic Theology in Dialogue 


Oriental Religions: Far Eastern, Near Eastern 

TOR ANDRAE: Mohammed: The Man and His Faith ^ 


EDWARD CONZE: Buddhism: Its Essence and Develop- 
ment. ° ^ Foreword by Arthur Waley TB/58 

EDWARD coNZE et al.. Editors: Buddhist Texts Through 
the Ages ^ tb/iij 

ANANDA cooMARASWAMY: Buddha and the Gospel of 
Buddhism. ^ Illus. TB/119 

H. G. CREEL: Confucius and the Chinese Way TB/63 

FRANKLIN EDGERTON, Trans. & Ed.: The Bhagavad Gita 


SWAMI NiKHiLANANDA, Trans. & Ed.: The Upanishads: A 
One-Volume Abridgment ^ TB/114 

HELLMUT wiLHELM: Change: Eight Lectures on the I 
Ching ^ TB/2019 

Philosophy of Religion 

NICOLAS BERDYAEV: The Beginning and the End § ^ TB/14 
NICOLAS BERDYAEV: Christian Existentialism: A Berd- 
yaev Synthesis. ^ Ed. by Donald A. Lowrie TB/130 
NICOLAS BERDYAEV: The Destiny of Man ^ tb/6i 

RUDOLF BULTMANN: History and Eschatology: The Pres- 
ence of Eternity ° TB/91 
Myth: A Theological Debate ^ tb/8o 
Two Essays on New Testament Research. ^ Trans- 
lated by Frederick C. Grant TB/96 


MiRCEA eliade: The Sacred and the Profane tb/8i 

LUDWIG FEUERBACH: The Essence of Christianity. ^ In- 
troduction by Karl Barth. Foreword by H. Richard 
Niebuhr tb/ii 

ETIENNE GILSON: The Spirit of Thomism TB/313 

ADOLF harnack: What is Christianity? § '^ Introduction 
by Rudolf Bultmann TB/17 

FRIEDRICH HEGEL: On Christianity: Early Theological 
Writings. Ed. by R. Kroner and T. M. Knox TB/79 

KARL HEiM: Christian Faith and Natural Science ^ tb/i6 

IMMANUEL KANT: Religion Within the Limits of Reason 
Alone. § Intro, by T. M. Greene & ]. Silber TB/67 

K. E. KIRK: The Vision of God: The Christian Doctrine 
of the Summum Bonum % ^ TB/137 

JOHN MACQUARRIE: An Existentialist Theology: A Com- 
parison of Heidegger and Bultmann. " ^ Preface by 
Rudolf Bultmann TB/125 

PAUL RAMSEY, Ed.: Faith and Ethics: The Theology of 
H. Richard Niebuhr TB/i2g 

EUGEN rosenstock-huessy: The Christian Future or the 
Modern Mind Outrun. Intro, by Harold Stahmer 


PIERRE TEiLHARD DE CHARDiN: The Divine Milieu ° ^ 


Man " -^ TB/383 

Religion, Culture & Society 

JOSEPH L. BLAU, Ed.: Cornerstones of Religious Freedom 
in America: Selected Basic Documents, Court De- 
cisions and Public Statements. Revised and Enlarged 
Edition tb/ii8 

c. c. GiLLispiE: Genesis and Geology: The Decades be- 
fore Darwin § TB/51 

KYLE HASELDEN: The Racial Problem in Christian Per- 
spective tb/ii6 

WALTER KAUFMANN, Ed.: Religion from Tolstoy to 
Camus: Basic Writings on Religious Truth and 
Morals. Enlarged Edition TB/123 

JOHN T. MCNEILL: A History of the Cure of Souls TB/126 

KENNETH B. MURDOCK: Literature and Theology in 
Colonial New England TB/99 

H. RICHARD NIEBUHR: Christ and Culture ^ TB/3 

H. RICHARD niebuhr: The Kingdom of God in America 


R. B. perry: Puritanism and Democracy TB/1138 

PAUL PFUETZE: Self, Society, Existence: Human Nature 
and Dialogue in the Thought of George Herbert Mead 
and Martin Buber TB/1059 

WALTER rauschenbusch: Christianity and the Social 
Crisis, t Edited by Robert D. Cross TB/3059 

KURT samuelsson: Religion and Economic Action: A 
Critique of Max Weber's The Protestant Ethic and the 
Spirit of Capitalism H » '^ Trans, by E. G. Trench. Ed. 
with Intro, by D. C. Coleman TB/1131 

TIMOTHY L. SMITH: Revivalism and Social Reform: Amer- 
ican Protestantism on the Eve of the Civil War ^ 


ERNST troeltsch: The Social Teaching of the Christian 

Churches » ^ Vol. I TB/71; Vol. II TB/72 


Biological Sciences 

charlotte auerbach: The Science of Genetics 2 ^ 


MARSTON BATES: The Natural History of Mosquitoes. 
Illus. TB/578 

A. BELLAiRS: Reptiles: Life History, Evolution, and 
Structure. ^ Illus. TB/520 

LUDWiG VON bertalanffy: Modern Theories of Develop- 
ment: An Introduction to Theoretical Biology TB/554 

LUDWiG VON bertalanffy: Problems of Life: An Evalua- 
tion of Modern Biological and Scientific Thought ^ j 

HAROLD F. BLUM: Time's Arrow and Evolution TB/555 
JOHN TYLER BONNER: The Ideas of Biology. 2 ^ lUus. 

TB/570 ; 

A. J. CAIN: Animal Species and their Evolution. '^ Illus. 

TB/519 ' 

WALTER B. CANNON: Bodily Changes in Pain, Hunger, 
Fear and Rage. Illus. TB/562 

w. E. LE GROS CLARK: The Antecedents of Man: An Intro- 
duction to Evolution of the Primates. ° ■^ Illus. TB/559 
w. H. dowdeswell: Animal Ecology. -^ Illus. TB/543 

w. H. DOWDESWELL: The Mechanism of Evolution. ^ Illus. 

R. w. GERARD: Unresting Cells. Illus. TB/541 

DAVID LACK: Darwin's Finches. ^ Illus. TB/544 

ADOLF portmann: Animals as Social Beings. ° ^ Illus. 

o. w. RICHARDS: The Social Insects. ^ Illus. TB/342 

p. m. sheppard: Natural Selection and Heredity. ^ Illus. 

EDMUND w. sinnott: Cell and Psyche: The Biology of 
Purpose TB/546 

c. h. waddington: How Animals Develop. ^ Illus. 

c. H. waddington: The Nature of Life: The Main Prob- 
lems and Trends in Modern Biology ^ TB/580 


J. R. Partington: A Short History of Chemistry. ^ Illus. 


Communication Theory 

J. R. pierce: Symbols, Signals and Noise: The Nature 
and Process of Communication ^ TB/574 


R. E. coker: This Great and Wide Sea: An Introduction 

to Oceanography and Marine Biology. Illus. TB/551 

F. K. hare: The Restless Atmosphere ^ TB/560 

History of Science 

marie boas: The Scientific Renaissance, 1450-1630 ° ^ 

w. DAMPiER, Ed.: Readings in the Literature of Science. 

Illus. TB/512 

A. HUNTER DUPREE: Science in the Federal Government: 

A History of Policies and Activities to ig40 ^ TB/573 
ALEXANDRE KOYRE : From the Closed World to the Infinite 

Universe: Copernicus, Kepler, Galileo, Newton, etc. ^ 

A. g. van melsen: From Atomos to Atom: A History of 

the Concept Atom TB/517 

o. NEUGEBAUER: The Exact Sciences in Antiquity TB/552 
HANS thirring: Energy for Man: From Windmills to 

Nuclear Power ^ TB/556 

STEPHEN TOULMiN & JUNE GOODFiELD: The Architecture of 
Matter: Physics, Chemistry & Physiology of Matter, 

Both Animate & Inanimate, As it Evolved Since the 

Beginning of Science ° ^ TB/584 


Time o ^ TB/585 

LANCELOT LAW WHYTE: Essay on Atomism: From Democ- 

ritus to ig6o ^ TB/565 


E. w. BETH: The Foundations of Mathematics: A Study 
in the Philosophy of Science ^ TB/581 

H. DAVENPORT: The Higher Arithmetic: An Introduction 
to the Theory of Numbers ^ TB/526 


H. G. forder: Geometry: An Introduction ^ TB/548 

s. korner: The Philosophy of Mathematics: An Intro- 
duction ^ TB/547 

D. E. littlewood: Skeleton Key of Mathematics: A 
Simple Account of Complex Algebraic Problems ^ 


GEORGE e. OWEN: Fundamentals of Scientific Mathe- 
matics TB/569 

wiLLARD VAN ORMAN QUiNE : Mathematical Logic TB/558 

o. G. SUTTON: Mathematics in Action. ° ^ Foreword by 
James R. Newman. Illus. TB/518 

FREDERICK WAisMANN: Introduction to Mathematical 
Thinking. Foreword by Karl Menger TB/511 

Philosophy of Science 

R. B. BRAITHWAITE: Scientific Explanation TB/515 

J. BRONOWSKi: Science and Human Values. ^ Revised and 
Enlarged Edition TB/305 

ALBERT EINSTEIN et al. : Albert Einstein: Philosopher- 
Scientist. Edited by Paul A. Schilpp Vol. I TB/502 
Vol. II TB/503 

WERNER HEisENBERG: Physics and Philosophy: The Revo- 
lution in Modern Science ^ TB/549 

JOHN MAYNARD KEYNES: A Treatise on Probability. ° ^ 
Introduction by N. R. Hanson TB/557 

KARL R. POPPER: Logic of Scientific Discovery ^ TB/576 

STEPHEN TOULMiN: Foresight and Understanding: An 
Enquiry into the Aims of Science. '^ Foreword by 
Jacques Barzun TB/564 

STEPHEN TOULMIN: The Philosophy of Science: An In- 
troduction ^ TB/513 
G. J. WHiTROW: The Natural Philosophy of Time <> ^ 


Physics and Cosmology 

JOHN E. ALLEN: Aerodynamics: A Space Age Survey ^ 


Heavens: The Development of Astronomy and Dy- 
namics. "^ Illus. TB/579 

DAVID bohm: Causality and Chance in Modem Physics. ^ 
Foreword by Louis de Broglie TB/536 

P. w. BRiDGMAN: Nature of Thermodynamics TB/537 

P. w. BRIDGMAN: A Sophisticate's Primer of Relativity '^ 


A. c. CROMBiE, Ed.: Turning Point in Physics TB/535 

c. v. DURELL: Readable Relativity. ■^ Foreword by Free- 
man 7. Dyson TB/530 

ARTHUR eddington: Spacc, Time and Gravitation: An 
Outline of the General Relativity Theory TB/510 

GEORGE GAMOW: Biography of Physics 2 ^ TB/567 

MAX jammer: Concepts of Force: A Study in the Founda- 
tion of Dynamics TB/550 

max jammer: Concepts of Mass in Classical and Modern 
Physics TB/571 

MAX jammer: Concepts of Space: The History of 
Theories of Space in Physics. Foreword by Albert 
Einstein TB/533 

G. J. WHITROW: The Structure and Evolution of the Uni- 
verse: An Introduction to Cosmology. ^ Illus. TB/504 

Code to Torchbook Libraries: 


The Cloister Library 


The Cathedral Library 


The Science Library 


The Temple Library 

TB/1001 + 

The Academy Library 

TB/2001 + 

The Bollingen Library 


The University Library 

jp/i + 

Jewish Publication Society 


D=.4"10.7 89:ta. 


D=4 - 10.7 8 9"a 

Date Due 






^'^^Oe 1988 


Martin Buber; main 
193B917Yf 1960C.2 

3 15bE D3SaS aEST 

c . 2 


Date Due